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THE  COMING 
WORLDWIDE 
RAPTURE

 

“We will be caught up together

with them in the clouds,

to meet the Master

in the air.”

1 Thessalonians 4:17

 

 

By  DON  E  STANTON

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

PART ONE

       Caught Up! A Description                          

 

PART TWO

       The Rapture. The Scriptural Doctrine      

 

PART THREE

       How can we be sure that we will be included in the Rapture, and not left behind?                                    

 

PART FOUR

       A Partial Rapture?                                      

 

PART FIVE

       When will the Church be caught up ?

       BEFORE, MIDDLE or AFTER ?            

 

       15 main reasons why the Church will  be caught up BEFORE the Tribulation    

 

 

 

"FORWARD EXPLANATION"

 

YHWH is the transliteration of the Hebrew letters of the sacred Name of the Almighty God ( ).

The Name is used 6855 times in the Hebrew Bible. It is currently pronounced as Yahweh or Yahwah. During the past few centuries it was inaccurately rendered as Jehovah or Yehowah.

The meaning of Yahweh is “The Eternal One.”

 

Y’SHUA is the original Hebrew Name of Jesus. It is also often written as Yeshua, or Yahshua. The meaning of Y’shua is, “Yahweh is Salvation.”

THE MESSIAH (or, The Christ) means “The Anointed One.” It comes from the Hebrew words HaMashiach.

Y’shua is the fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament.

All Christians recognise Y’shua (Jesus) as the Messiah.

 

BIBLE QUOTATIONS

used in this book are from the Clear Preferred Version (CPV), a clear, compared teaching version by Don Stanton. It employs modern English, and uses the original Names of YHWH and Y’shua. Words in italics are not in the original, but are supplied to complete or to amplify the English translation.

The CPV is not complete, but scriptures used in most of our recent publications are from the CPV.

 

 

"PART ONE"

 

CAUGHT  UP !

ASHA’S FACE was pale and anguished as she entered the pilot’s cabin of the 747. “Captain,” she blurted. “They are not here! We have searched the whole plane thoroughly. Hostess Nirmala, and the old man - both have completely disappeared.”

“Impossible! It's impossible for anyone to disappear from a plane unless a door or a panel has blown off!” the pilot retorted. “You’ve been drinking.”

“We have not been drinking!” Asha fumed. “And the old man’s wife is hysterical.”

"Then check the whole plane again!"

*        *         *

Stephen and Paula watched their television - the news was being read by a familiar reader. “The Middle East peace process has seen a major breakthrough today as Dr. .....

The sentence was cut short. Stephen stared at the screen ... the announcer’s seat suddenly appeared empty. He had vanished. “Where is he?” someone in the studio called out. Then some commotion followed.

Stephen sat upright. “Paula, what gives?” he exclaimed. There was no answer. He glanced in his wife’s direction. “Paula ... where are you?”

*        *        *

Raju waited impatiently for his ticket. The attendant had accepted his money. The queue behind Raju became agitated. “What’s holding us up?” they demanded.

Raju shrugged angrily. “The fellow was there a couple of minutes ago. He seems to have disappeared.”

*        *        *

“Stop the car!” Sheila shrieked. “Krishan, stop the car!”

“What’s wrong?” Krishan asked, pulling to a halt.

“Where’s Shanta? She’s not here. She’s gone!”

“What!” Krishan gasped, and slammed on the brakes.

“How’s that? The doors are still locked!”

*         *       *

The police sergeant rushed into his superior’s room.

“Sir, the prisoner has escaped.”

“What!” the officer exclaimed, jumping up, “Which one?”

“The dacoit - the one who has become religious over the last few weeks.”

“How has he escaped?”

“It’s a mystery, sir. His prison cell is still locked.”

“There must be an accomplice. Alert the force!”

*       *      *

Mary wept as she caught sight of the coffin at the side of the grave. It carried the body of her father. He had been a godly church elder.

Her brother took her arm as they drew near to the front. The service was brief and the minister concluded with condolences to the bereaved family and friends. As he closed, he invited those who wished, to have a last look at the body of the departed loved one.

The lid of the casket was removed. The minister stared with alarm, into an empty box - there were only a few clothes in it.

*       *       *

It was 7 p.m. when Grace reached home from work, “Mother,” she called, “I’m home.” There was no answer. Grace could smell something burning. She followed her nose to the kitchen. Smoke was belching forth from a pot on the stove.

“Mother,” she cried loudly. “Where are you?” 

There was no answer!

*       *        *

Rajender rushed into the Rai’s house. Bena was looking worried as she met him at the door. “Oh, Rajender!” she gasped, “I thought you were James ... he’s very late. Have you seen him?”

“No, I haven’t, Bena. But I was wondering if my wife was down here?”

“No, Rajender. I saw Esther this afternoon. She was going home to cook something special for you tonight!”

*        *          *

Kurian turned the radio on. “Must listen to the news,” he said to himself. “You don’t know what may happen these days.”

“This is All-India Radio. The News; read by Loti Ratnam. Mysterious events have taken place this afternoon. Reports from many cities of India tell of the mysterious disappearance of people from all over the country. There has been an alarming number of accidents, and it is believed that the accidents have been caused mostly by the disappearance of drivers from cars and other vehicles... ... a note just handed to me says;

‘Reports of missing people have been received from many other countries. There have been sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects in a number of places, and this has given rise to speculation that an invasion of flying saucers may have kidnapped many unfortunate people. Investigation is under way, and reports will be given regularly over these stations. People are urged to remain calm, and to notify a local police reporting room in cases of missing relatives’.”

A shudder went through Kurian. As soon as the news report was finished, he switched off the radio. He grabbed his phone and dialled his parents’ STD number. He breathed heavily into the mouthpiece, wishing it would answer. But it didn’t.

“My God,” he sighed. “It can’t be!”

*     *     *

Mrs. Mohanty was out of breath as she pushed her weight against the door bell at Pastor Jonathan Masih’s residence. She waited impatiently for a few seconds, and then pushed the bell again. After what seemed an age, the door slowly opened, and Pastor Masih smiled at her.

“Oh, thank God, Pastor! You’re still here!  I .... I was afraid ... that you might have gone too.”

“Gone? No, no, my dear ... gone where?”

“Pastor, haven’t you heard the news?”

“News? No. I’ve been working diligently all day on my message on the new world religion.”

“Pastor ... there’s thousands of people missing.”

“Missing? Impossible!”

“It’s true. It’s on the T.V. ... I thought it might have been the ... the... what do they call it? The Rap...?”

“The Rapture? Haw, haw,” the pastor laughed. “Haw, haw. See, Mrs. Mohanty, we are still here. How would God leave us behind? Haw, haw, haw.”

“Then where could they have gone?”

“There must be some explanation. Don’t worry too much.”

“How awful. I was so afraid ... Where is Mrs. Masih?”

“I don’t know. She hasn’t come home yet ... She’s never this late though ... she must have been delayed somewhere ...”

*      *      *

By 10 p.m., Rajender Singh was near to collapse because of anxiety, and pacing the house, and the street. There was no sign of Esther. Asha, his daughter, filled with fear, had raced off to find her boyfriend, leaving Rajender alone.

He kept tuned to the TV. Every news report was worse than the one before.

By 10 pm the newsreader’s voice was animated. “This has been a day of tragedies,” he said. “Not only have tens of thousands of people disappeared from all around the globe, but a great number of accidents have occurred. The roads of some cities are littered with wrecked vehicles; and yet, the strange thing is that many of the cars have been found empty. Several plane crashes, and a number of train accidents have occurred.

“The Prime Minister has called for calm, so that we may face this emergency.

“The one good news of the day,” the reader continued, “is that there has been a breakthrough in the Middle East peace process. In Geneva, Dr. Arttur Xerxes has been acclaimed for his role in bringing about a treaty that has been signed by Israel and most of the Arab nations.

The leaders of Europe, the United States, Russia, as well as the United Nations have pledged to back the Middle East peace treaty which will last for an initial seven years. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has applauded Dr Arttur Xerxes, and says the treaty would guarantee peace in West Asia, and the world. This is the beginnning of a New World Order.

“Dr. Xerxes has been heralded as the Foremost Planetary Citizen, and he will address the United Nations in just under one hour from now. Direct broadcasts may be heard over this network, at 12 o’clock tonight.”

The normal radio and TV programs were cancelled, and All-India Radio and all TV channels continued the commentary on the events of the day.

An orgy of violence had broken out in many cities, and a pall of anxiety was pervading homes everywhere. The streets were filled, even late in the night, with cars and other vehicles rushing to and fro, as people tried to check up on their relatives. The reckless panic of many people has led to countless multiple pileups on the highways. It was as if a new, crazed force had suddenly been “unleashed” in the world.

At about 11:30, Rajender Singh’s phone rang, He jumped at it. It was his son, ringing from Brussels.

“Dad,” he said, “I’ve been trying for hours to get you. Communications are jammed everywhere. Be sure to listen to the UN broadcast tonight ... Dr. Xerxes. He’s revealed at last, I believe he’s Maitreya, the Christ. The new order is beginning ... Tell Mum to listen also!”

There was a break in the conversation. Rajender was silent.

“Dad,” Rajiv called, “Are you there?”

“Yes.”

“Are you alright.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Why, what’s wrong?”

“Your mother ...”

“Is she not well?”

“She’s gone.”

“Where?”

“I don’t know ... disappeared.”

“What!” Rajiv exclaimed. “Can’t be! No! No! Dad, we warned her about becoming involved with those Bible preachers! Anyway, don’t be too anxious! Dr. Xerxes will announce...”

 

The phone was suddenly cut off. Rajender sank into his chair, and buried his head in his hands.

“What’s happening?” he cried. He felt dizzy - then he heard a rushing noise sweep through the house. His chair began to shake. The lights went out. The whole room began to shudder. For some 15 seconds it lasted. Rajender clung to his chair in sheer terror. He could not even pull himself up. “Earthquake” he groaned.

*      *      *

Rajender staggered out into the street. People from neighbour’s homes were huddled in groups, jabbering with shock and fear. Down the street, one group was wailing.

A neighbour identified Rajender in the eerie darkness.

“How’s your family, Rajender? Anyone hurt?”

“No. There was only me in the house.”

“What about your wife?”

“I don’t know where she is.”

“She didn’t come home?”

“No ... I’m scared she is one of those who have disappeared.”

“Can’t be, Rajender! Things like that don’t happen to ordinary folk like us ... She’ll come back, for sure. Don’t think the worst.”

“Is your family okay, Devendra?”

“Yes, but maybe we had better go up the street in case any help is needed.”

“Sorry,” Rajender said. “I haven’t got the strength.”

But before he could find a place to sit, a strange noise zoomed towards them, and the whole street began to shake. People began screaming, as buildings started to collapse.

*        *         *

In New Delhi, Kurian hunched over the TV. The news coming through told of tragedy after tragedy. And yet, interspersed amongst the tragic reports, there was the lauding of the 7-year peace treaty, and “the hope” that Dr. Arttur Xerxes presented to the world.

The news of the major earthquake which struck Bombay that night brought terror into Kurian’s heart. His parents were living there - but he had not been able to contact them, although he had kept calling. Where were they? Had they been hurt or killed in the earthquake? Or had they also disappeared with so many others?

Kurian feared the dread possibility that the Great Tribulation was beginning. He had heard about it since childhood. His parents had warned him of it, and had urged him to be ready for the coming of the Lord. And more recently, after it was announced that “Lord Maitreya” was “the Christ,” and was soon to be revealed on radio and television worldwide, Kurian’s parents had written to him again, warning of the coming Antichrist.

The question in Kurian’s mind was, “Is Dr. Arttur Whatever-his-name-is, the Antichrist, who would become a ruthless world dictator?”

Kurian had always kept telling himself, and his parents, that it was all supposition. Nothing of the sort would happen.

But now Kurian was intent on hearing the midnight broad-cast. He was one of the  several billion people all around the world who were tuned in to hear and see Dr. Xerxes. The message was being instantly translated into hundreds of languages. In India the broadcast would be heard in all main languages.

On the dot of midnight, the radio and television announced:

“This is the United Nations, broadcasting to all nations. Ladies and Gentlemen; the Secretary-General, Mr Koshi Haman:

“Fellow Citizens of Planet Earth. It has been a most momentous day in the history of our Planet. It has been one of both tragedy and triumph. While an alarming number of calamities have been striking the world, a new spirit of confidence has been created through the tremendous breakthrough in the Middle East peace process. We, the planetary citizens of the world are now at a stage - for the first time in human history - where we can truly call each other, “brothers.” We are now able to march forward together and to create a truly durable and benevolent new world order. This glorious prospect has become possible through the divine qualities, the spiritual intelligence, and the dynamic leadership of one great man of destiny.

“For centuries, the world has awaited such a man. Today we welcome him, we acclaim him, for it is his presence in our midst that has saved the world from a nuclear holocaust. And we believe he will also save us from our many other troubles. Fellow-citizens, I present to you, Dr. Arttur Xerxes.”

Television cameras zoomed in on the man who had so suddenly come into prominence. Dr. Xerxes stood on the dais of the United Nations General Assembly.

“Citizens of Planet Earth,” he said, “I greet you in the name of Peace. You are brothers and fellow-citizens of a great civilization - one that will truly become far greater in the days ahead. In view of the power invested in me - a servant of the Most High, and a servant of all humanity, I assure you that the time has arrived for man to drink of the waters of Aquarius, and to experience life abundant - a life of peace, joy, equality, and security. Together, we can build a new world where war is a thing of the past, where exploitation is unnecessary, where children do not starve, and where the natural resources of the planet are not squandered selfishly, and where the beauties of our planet are experienced and enjoyed by all.

“Today the powers of darkness have thrown their weight against the new order, seeking to create a spirit of fear and confusion. But such powers, I assure you, will be defeated. Knowing they have already been condemned, they have attempted to assert themselves in a final resistance to the new world that you and I are called to create.

“I offer my sincere, brotherly condolences to all who have been bereaved this day. I pray to God that His peace will surround you. And I ask you not to give up hope, and not to be afraid. The powers that are working against us will be destroyed by the superior power that is residing in every one of us.”

Kurian’s eyes were glued to the TV as Dr. Xerxes continued his message, promising hope, solutions, and a new world. His words appealed to Kurian, who sat mesmerised by the charismatic personality of this illuminated “man.”

“How could this man be the Antichrist?” Kurian asked himself. “Antichrist will be evil, according to what they say. But this man is ... he’s ... too good.”

"

“For the mystery of iniquity and lawlessness is already at work; but He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the glory  of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with great power and with all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and with all the deception of wickedness among those who are perishing, because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10)

Scripture quotations in this book are from the Clear Preferred Version.

 

"PART TWO"

 

THE  RAPTURE

 

 AS MUCH AS I would love to continue writing the above story, I must now turn to the Word of God and show you the facts that have caused me to write an “introduction” in the form of a novel.

Some people will no doubt accuse me of writing fiction. But this coming event is not fictitious!

Events like these described are going to happen before long. Millions of people are going to disappear. Tragedies are going to strike the earth; and a world dictator, who at first will seem to be a “saviour,” will be revealed after the Messiah catches His people up to the Father’s House.

The world will wonder at the man who is revealed on TV, and they will begin to worship him. It’s all scheduled to take place, and it could be very soon. The Great Tribulation is imminent, and that means the Rapture also is imminent.

The Man of Sin, whether he be “Lord Maitreya,” or whether he be some other as-yet-unrevealed Antichrist, is undoubtedly working at this very minute behind the scenes, preparing for his worldwide reign of terror.

Some people do not believe there will be a Rapture. For example, the late Herbert W Armstrong, the founder of the Plain Truth magazine, scoffed at the idea of anyone being caught up in the clouds. The Christadelphians, J.W.’s, and Mormons don’t believe in the Rapture. In fact, I don’t know of any false cult which holds to this blessed hope. And sadly there are also many Christians who don’t believe in the Rapture.

Of course, the Rapture is such a miraculous event that only a believer with faith in God’s Word will believe it can take place, quite literally, as the prophecies declare.

But we are not concerned with what the denialists believe. We are concerned about what the Bible says.

Cults use the Bible to support their own theories. They are skilled in twisting or bypassing important verses, and in explaining away Scriptures that don’t fit in with their own interpretations. And of course, any of us could do the same thing if we were not careful.

What we must do is to examine the many Scriptures on the subject of the Rapture and the Return of Christ. We may check the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, and the literal translation of the words. We should scrutinize the verses and see whether they are to be taken literally or figuratively. And we must be prepared to accept what the Bible clearly reveals.

The word “Rapture” is not found in the English Bible. But this word is a very suitable word to describe the rapturous catching up of believers to meet the Lord in the air.

Even the word “Millennium” is not written in the Bible - but the 1000-year reign of Christ is very clearly taught. So it is with the Rapture.

The word Rapture comes from the Latin word rapere, which is found in the expression “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Some of my readers may be sharpening their swords already to have a duel with me on the question of when the Rapture takes place. But I ask these beloved readers to sheath their  swords for a few minutes. That question I will attend to shortly, but first, I want to establish the fact that there WILL be a Rapture, and that this is not some new doctrine, or a product of the imagination, or simply wishful thinking.

 

 

SPECIFIC PROPHECIES OF

THE  RAPTURE

The most clear Scriptural passage of the Rapture is in this chapter where the apostle Paul explains what happens to the “dead in Christ” . . .

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep - those who have died in Christ - or to grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

“For since we believe that Y’shua died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with Y’shua, those who have fallen asleep in Him. For this we declare to you by the Master’s own word, that we, the living, who remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.

“For the Master Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. Then the dead in Christ - those who died in union with the Messiah - shall rise first.

“Then we, the living believers who remain, will simultaneously be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air. And so we will be with the Master for ever. Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.”

Verse 17 is clear, isn’t it? We shall be caught up in the clouds!

“Haw, haw, haw,” laughs Rev. Jonathan Masih. But his laughing doesn’t change a thing. It only proves he has an unbelieving heart.

Reader, I’m not asking you to believe a theory. I’m asking you to believe that the Word of God is true, and that 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is a very literal prophecy.

Some time ago I had a discussion with a pastor of a main-line church, and he maintained that being “caught up” was nothing more than progress in spiritual maturity.

If the Scripture wanted to speak about spiritual progress and maturity, it would use straight words, as it does in Ephesians 4:10-16. It would not need to use the express-ion “in the clouds ... in the air.”

And besides, it is clear the Rapture takes place at the same time as the resurrection of true believers in Christ who have already died . It would be a case of gross falsification if we tried to make the verse read like this - “and the dead in Christ shall progress first, then we who are alive and remain shall progress to spiritual heights with them.”

Some may say the verse is referring only to jubilation at the coming of the Lord. The person who explains away such an important verse in such a manner, evidently does not want to believe in the Rapture.

There is absolutely no reason why this verse should be regarded as symbolic. The teaching is not a dream or vision. It is not a parable, or an analogy. It is straightforward teaching; and it was given by the Apostle Paul as there was confusion in the early Thessalonian church about the resurrection and the coming of the Master for His people.

So where clear teaching was called for, it would have been most un-Paul-like to confuse the issue by using ambiguous terms.

The apostle Paul was always concerned and careful to explain his subject in a clear manner. And if it was not clear how it will be possible for believers to be caught up unto the clouds (without suffocating), Paul would also make this clear - as He has done in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15.

This chapter deals with death and the resurrection. Paul speaks about earthly bodies, and heavenly bodies, explaining how the earthly body we have, will one day be raised up as an imperishable, spiritual body. (See verse 40-49)

The apostle explains that not all believers are going to die, but all believers will have transformed bodies. Read the passage - and notice again, this is a passage of explicit teaching. There’s nothing symbolic, analogical or parabolic about it. So we are obliged to take the truth of these words literally, just as they are written.

 

1 Corinthians 15:51-54

“Listen! I tell you a mystery, a secret truth; we will not all fall asleep, (that is - die); but we will all be changed, transformed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible and imperishable, and we, also, will be changed - transformed.

 

“For this corruptible, the perishable part of us, must put on incorruption, and this mortal part of us -  that is capable of dying, must put on immortality. But when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then the word that has been written will be fulfilled, ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’.” [Isaiah 25:8]

That this passage is teaching about the coming of the Messiah for His people becomes very clear when we compare it with 1 Thessalonians 4  -  the trumpet, the catching up, and the resurrection of believers.

The instantly-transformed bodies of believers enables them to be caught up, literally, into the clouds, to meet the Master.

Some may now ask, “And what then? How long are you going to be in the clouds? Surely you can’t expect us to believe you are going to be sitting around on cushions of clouds, playing harps for ever - like the ancient mythical gods of Greece!”

No! I’m not asking you to believe myths. In John 14, our Master Himself explains what will happen. And please notice again, this Scripture is not a parable. Y’shua is giving straightforward teaching, and is giving believers a comforting assurance.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s House are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you, for I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and receive you to Myself, so that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

Some people have taught that the coming of the Master takes place when a believer dies - that the Saviour meets the spirit of a believer as it leaves the body and rises to the spiritual realm.

But this is not what Jesus is talking about here. He is talking about a literal going, and about a literal coming again to receive His people to Himself. And in between the going and the coming, He would prepare a place for His people in the Father’s House.

Some cults deny that the Messiah is preparing a place in heaven for His people. They say the Father’s House is on earth only. They refer to the Master’s words - when He spoke of the temple as “My Father’s House” - to help prove that the Father’s House is upon earth.

But this is an example of what I mean about twisting of words. The Herodian temple was not a place of many mansions. Nor can we say that the Lord Himself will build a multi-complex “Father’s House” on earth.

Y’shua said, “In My Father’s House are many mansions.” It was already a fact - in heaven.

The place He was yet to prepare, was a palace for His Bride  which  is  made  up  of  true  believers  who  have  been saved out of both Jewish and Gentile nations during this almost-2,000 year dispensation. And that place is more than a single building; it is a tremendous city.

That place is clearly in the heavens - in the spiritual realm.

Peter speaks of the living hope a believer has ...

“... an inheritance which can never perish, be corrupted or fade away, that is  kept safe in heaven for you.”  (1 Peter 1:4)

Hebrews speaks of the heavenly city which God has prepared also for Old Testament saints:

“But as it was, they desired and yearned for a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:16)

And Revelation 21 tells of the heavenly city ...

“prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”      (Revelation 21:2)

“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.’

“Then in the Spirit he conveyed me away to a great and high mountain, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the Sh’khinah glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very precious jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal.” (Revelation 21:9-11)

But in spite of these verses, and other passages such as Revelation 7:9-17 where believers are seen around the Throne in heaven, some say there is no Rapture, and that the gathering of believers to Christ is a gathering on earth only.

If the House referred to is the Jerusalem temple, then we would have to presume the Lord will come on a very cloudy day, when the mountains of Jerusalem will be engulfed with low clouds, and that all believers will somehow be brought there to be received by the Master in the clouds. And presumably they would then live in the mansion which the Master must either bring with Him, or which somehow must be set in place on those mountains.

But such an interpretation would simply be a clumsy attempt to explain away the Rapture. And why should we do that?

Let all who love and believe in Y’shua the Messiah -Jesus Christ - hold to His precious promise - “the blessed hope.”

1    The Master is preparing a place for His people in heaven.

2    He is coming to receive us unto Himself.

3    He  will  transform  our  bodies,  and  catch  us  up  into

      the clouds, and take us to the Father’s House.

 

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live sensible (self-controlled), upright and godly lives in this present age, awaiting and looking for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Y’shua the Messiah; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness (all wickedness), and purify for Himself a people who are uniquely His own; people zealous to do good works.” (Titus 2:11-14)

 

"PART THREE"

 

    

 How Can We Be Sure

that we will be included in the Rapture and not left behind?

IT IS one thing to know of the provision that YHWH the Almighty has made for our deliverance from this doomed world, but it is another thing to be READY and to have the firm assurance that we, as individuals, will have a part in the deliverance.

Many people have a vague hope that they will somehow be counted “good enough” for God to save them. They reason that if they are “as good as the next person,” God won’t do anything unjust, but He will be merciful to them, and therefore they have nothing to worry about.

But that is wishful thinking. A person may be as good as the average person - may even be better than average - but that is no ground for his salvation.

Yes it’s true, God will not do anything unjust; but on this fact alone, many people - the majority of people - can rest assured that they will have no part in the Rapture, and no place in the kingdom of God - for God is just.

God has declared He will not accept a sinner unless he comes through the Messiah - God’s Anointed One. The sinner can only be forgiven on the basis of the shed blood - the saving work - of Y’shua the Lamb of God.

Speaking of the heavenly city, the Word of God says:

“... nothing that defiles or profanes, nor anyone who practices abominations and falsehood, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”  (Revelation 21:27)

But notice, my reader, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will enter the city.

“The Lamb” is referring to Y’shua, Jesus, for He is the Lamb that was slain to provide the basis for the Almighty to forgive our sins. The prophet, John the Baptist pointed to Y’shua the Messiah, and said,

 

“Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Yes, Jesus the Messiah came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came “to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).

 

The Wages of  Sin is Death

At first it may seem terrible that God should insist on a sacrifice in order for Him to forgive sinners. But if you consider it carefully, you will see that it is God’s justice, love and mercy that demanded the sacrifice. God is the Holy One, and He cannot tolerate sin. God is LIGHT and He cannot compromise with darkness in any form. Therefore God has declared:

“The wages of sin is death.”  (Romans 6:23)

God’s justice says...

“The soul that sins shall die.”  (Ezekiel 18:4)

The result of sin, however, is not merely physical death. The ultimate result is the eternal expulsion of all unforgiven sinners from the Presence of God. They are expelled into the distant recesses of eternal darkness - far away from the Light of God.

That is finality! And every one of us would experience that terrible doom, (for “all have sinned”), if a way of forgiveness, of acquittal, of transformation from darkness to light, was not found. But God’s love said:

‘I will find a way, I will have mercy, I will save man from his iniquities.’ (see Romans 9:15;  Ezekiel 36:29; Matthew 1:21)

The question is, HOW could Yahweh El Shaddai, the Almighty God, be merciful and yet still be righteous in His responsibility as Ruler of the Universe? How could it be possible?  God can not simply say, “Oh let’s forget it! The past is past!”

No!  My reader, don’t think for a second that sin is a little thing that can be overlooked. If it were a white spot on a white garment it might be a different story. But sin is a black spot on a white garment.

We are not talking about ‘white sins,’ for there is no such thing as a ‘white sin,’ even though some people talk about white lies. Shall we also talk about white corruption, white hatred, white adultery, white murder, and so on?

Some people believe in white-washing. But God is not impressed with our self-improvement programs! He wants to do a thorough job of washing the heart white.

“Come now, let us reason together, says YHWH. Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Yes, the love of YHWH found a way, both to forgive men their sins, and to cleanse them from every dark spot.

“... the blood of Y’shua, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”     (1 John 1:7)

The ‘blood of Y’shua’ refers to the sacrifice of the Son of God and His work accomplished on the cross - the sacrifice that made atonement possible.

“For this reason it was essential that He be made like His brethren in every respect, in order to become a merciful and faithful high priest in things related to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.    (Hebrews 2:17)

(Propitiation = atonement or expiation - to deal with sin, to fulfil the righteous judgment of God against sin, to acquit sinners and to reconcile them to the holy God.  This is all made possible through the sacrifice and shed blood of the spotless “Lamb of God” - Y’shua Himself became our substitute.)

Now God declares to all the world:

 

“The  free  gift  of  God  is  eternal  life  in  the

Messiah, Y’shua our Master.”  (Romans 6:23)

Why “in the Messiah, Y’shua”? Because He is the Lamb, the Sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world. Apart from the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, there is no forgiveness.

            There was no other good enough,

            to pay the price of sin.

            He only could unlock the gates

            of Heaven and let us in.

 

The Death Penalty Paid

The Messiah takes away sin, not physically carrying it and dumping it somewhere. Metaphorically - in picture language - He does that, as in Micah 7:19.

“You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

But our Saviour takes away the sins of His people by paying the penalty for those sins Himself. As we read in several Scriptures:

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray.

Each of us has turned to his own way, but YHWH has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on  Him.

As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied.

By His knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify many, as He will bear their iniquities.”   (Isaiah 53:5, 6,11)

“For when we were still weak, the Messiah at the right time died for the ungodly ... but God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, the Messiah died for us.”  (Romans 5:6,8)

“For indeed the Messiah died for sins once for all, the Righteous on behalf of the unrighteous, so that He might bring us to God. He was put to death in the body, but was brought to life by the Spirit.”     (1 Peter 3:18)

So the Anointed One, the Messiah, paid the penalty for our sins, and not for ours only, but for those of the whole world (I John 2:2) - by suffering death - even the death on a cross (Phil. 2:8).

When Y’shua hung on the cross bearing the sins of the world, not only did the sun hide its face, but the most incredible thing happened; the Light of the World Him-self, became engulfed with darkness, for ...

“He became sin for us.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Furthermore, Heaven closed its “windows” so that God the Father might not look upon this darkness. And so the Son of God cried out,

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me.” (Matthew 27:46)

Y’shua already knew the answer, and it was agony for Him. But He cried out those words so that you and I might understand the truth of what was happening.  The Son of God/Son of Man, in those dark hours, was separated from the Light. He could have cried out in other words, such as, “My God, why have You expelled Me from the Light?” 

He was suffering the wages of the sin of the world - death; not physical death only, but an unbearable separation from the Light.

Like the prophet Jonah, who was swallowed up by the black hole of the whale’s belly, the Messiah was swallowed up by darkness - He suffered the darkness of “hell” on the cross.

 

Death Was Conquered

But the wonderful truth is that the Light conquered the darkness; the Light rose from the grave and expelled the sin for which He had suffered, into “the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19).

“The depths of the sea” is another synonym or expression for the “black darkness,” that spiritual “black hole” that draws all evil into itself and hides it from the Light.

So having become our Substitute, and having died on the cross for our sins, the Saviour now offers us a pardon. He offers us eternal life - as a free gift. When we accept His pardon, He writes our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life and reconciles us to the Father.

“For all the fulness of YHWH the Eternal One was pleased to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven; through Him, I say, having made peace through the blood He shed on His cross .”     (Colossians 1:19-20)

Yes, God is reconciling this rebellious planet to Himself - but if the world needs to be purged, then He will do that too, in order to reconcile His creation to Himself.

But notice this verse says, “things on earth or things in heaven.” It does not say “and things in hell.” No!  Hell and its occupants cannot, and will not, be reconciled to God.

Hell is for those who are still “dark” - those who have not been reconciled to God.  It’s too late for people in Hell to cry out, “We’ve changed our minds.”

It’s a bit like a person who jumps from a 50-storey building, and as he reaches the 25th storey, shouts, “I’ve changed my mind.”  It’s too late!

 

 

The Light Draws or Expels

Some people believe in universal reconciliation - that is, the idea that eventually everything, even Hell, will be reconciled to God. But darkness and light cannot be reconciled. Neither will God compromise, and accept areas of grey-ness, or an eerie twilight, in His kingdom. In fact He could not; for light must expel darkness.

Jesus the Messiah is “The Light of the world.” (John 8:12)

 

And He is the Light that makes us “light”; He’s the One who draws us to the very Centre of everything - the One who “dwells in unapproachable light.” (1 Timothy 1:16)

Yes, the Eternal One lives in the Light, but He Himself is the Light - such a powerful light that we can’t imagine.

We may say a candle gives light; or we might say a fluorescent tube gives a good light. Compare that though, with an atomic blast! God is not an electric bulb, nor even a thermonuclear reaction. He is the very Source of light - His brightness is so unapproachable, that any speck of darkness must be automatically expelled from it.

But some of my unsaved friends, and maybe even some of my readers too, think they will stand before God one day, covered with their filthy, sinful rags, and argue with Him, and tell Him what they think of His justice, if they are not given a place in the Kingdom of Light.

Have you ever come to your home at night and put the light on, and saw a cockroach scamper away? Sure! Did you ever say, “Hey Cockroach, come into the light. Don’t hide there in the dark.” No? And a sinner whose sins have been not forgiven will flee from the Presence of God. He will cry, “Let me get out of here!”

Oh! God will have to pin the unforgiven sinner down long enough for him to hear the verdict! “Unforgiven!” I don’t think unsaved sinners will be pleading with God to save them at the Great White Throne. They will be screaming, and seeking to get away from the Light.

 

God did not CREATE Hell !

I don’t think of hell as a place God created for the purpose of casting rebellious people there.

(Of course, all things created, have been created by God. But there is no verse that says God created hell.  He did create heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Our Master said that hell was PREPARED for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)  

We cannot say that God created Las Vegas and its gambling casinos. We cannot say that God created communism, or the drug problem. God did not create alcohol, or any other form or evil. We read,

“And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

So I believe it is not quite right to say, “God created hell.” In the past I myself have wrongly said, “Yes, God made hell.” But as the Bible does not say that, I believe there is another explanation - hell came into being by the expulsion of darkness from the Light.

I think of hell as a kind of “black hole,” like the mysterious black holes that we now know exist in space - black holes which are described by scientists as “non-objects,” and as “celestial vacuum-cleaners that suck up anything that comes across their paths. Anything that enters a black hole, even an object a thousand times bigger than the earth, simply disappears into the bottomless “hole.”

The blackness of hell exists because all that is dark and evil has been expelled from the Light - from the Almighty. At the same time, hell absorbs no light.

Hell, I imagine, began as a single speak of blackness - the pride in Lucifer’s heart, and that speck has been gathering dust ever since, until today it is a hell of immense proportions.

“Hell has enlarged herself.”  (Isaiah 5:14)

To live in hell would be to discover the vastness of that “black hole,” and that would not be an exciting experience.

To view it from the kingdom of light, hell is a far distant black hole that is being continuously expelled by its very nature, further and further away from the Light.

That black hole is like a fiery comet that is propelled away from a sun into the vast dark reaches of the universe. Hell is like a wandering and burning star, “for whom the black darkness has been reserved for ever.” (Jude 13). It burns continuously because of the friction generated by the intense speed of its expulsion from the Light. It flees for ever, but never reaches a destination.

It will be too late for any passenger on that fiery comet plunging into the bottomless black hole of “outer darkness,” to cry, “I want to go back.” And even if it were possible to get out of the black hole, the sinners who did so, unforgiven as they are, and saturated with darkness, would be automatically expelled from the Light and plunged back into the black hole.

This is a solemn warning for “men who love darkness rather than light.” Their expulsion has already begun! And yet, while they still live on earth and have a mind to make a right decision, there is hope. They can be saved, and their love for darkness can be replaced with a love for Light, through the grace of YHWH the Almighty.

 

You Can Become Light!

The only hope, the only way to escape the expulsion on account of being “dark” (an unforgiven sinner), is to have one’s sins removed, to have the penalty lifted, and to be made “light.” And this can happen! This is what God promises to do for us, and in us, if we turn to Him.

Paul said to the believers in Ephesus:

“For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Master; walk as children of light.”   (Ephesians 5:8)

What is it that makes the Ephesian believers so special that they can be called “light”?

No, they were not more special than you or I. But they were saved by grace through faith. They simply received the gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9). They did not try to prove themselves worthy of it. They simply believed God; they had faith in the Messiah, and their faith was counted for righteousness. They then became “light” - not whitewashed, but washed white, because Jesus Christ shed His blood to cleanse them.

So now they were “light,” and were not in danger of being expelled by the light of God. Light does not expel light; rather, light draws the light.  Paul explains in another place:

“For it is God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts for the enlightening of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Y’shua the Messiah.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Has that happened to you, my dear reader?   If not, I want you to know that God is calling you to come out of darkness, into His light!  Peter also says:

“... that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”   (1 Peter 2:9)

Imagine for a moment, at the Rapture, when our glorious Master comes for His own, that an unforgiven sinner was also caught up to the clouds.  He would be almost blinded. He would feel as if he was being drawn into the sun. It would be a terrible fate - being drawn into un-approachable Light, while he is still “dark.”

But for the believer, it is light being drawn by light, and light to light. Oh glorious day!

So my friend, the most essential thing in all the world, is to have your sins forgiven, and to be “light in the Master”!

 

How Can You Have Your Sins Forgiven?

*  Not by trying to pay for them.

*  Not by having an argument with God about them.

*  Not by continuing in them.

*  Not by promising to try to do better.

*  Not by endless remorse and tears.

*  Not by praying to idols, to saints, or to Mary.

*  Not by enlisting others to help you get sins removed.

 

But by simply trusting Y’shua (Jesus) as your own personal Saviour.

The Scripture emphasizes that forgiveness is through faith in the Messiah.

“Of Him (Y’shua) all the prophets bear witness that through His Name, every one who believes in Him has received forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this One forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is declared righteous - justified from all things, from which you could not be justified through the Law of Moses.”   (Acts 13:38-39)

“... and you shall call His name Y’shua (which means, YHWH is Salvation), for He will save His people from their sins.”   (Matthew 1:21)

“For  He  delivered  us  from  the  power  and dominion of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”  (Colossians 1:13-14)

King David knew the forgiveness that is available to sinners; and he experienced it:

“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide.  I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to YHWH’; and You, yes, You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”   (Psalm 32:5)

 

FORGIVENESS

And you, my reader, yes you also can know this forgiveness if you come, just as you are, to the Heavenly Father, confessing you are a sinner who needs to be saved, and believing in Y’shua, receiving Him as your own personal Saviour.

If your need is for salvation, my friend, why don’t you come to the Almighty, wherever you are, right now. Get on your knees before Him, (or if you are disabled, just bow your head) and pray in words like the decision prayer on the next page:

 

 

Decision  Prayer

Heavenly Father,

I come to You just as I am - a sinner, and confess that I have sinned against others, I have sinned against myself, and most of all, I have sinned against You.

I realize I am in darkness, O God, and that I am in great danger of being expelled from Your Presence for ever. I know I deserve to be cast out, but I believe You can and will save me.

I believe, Y’shua, Lord Jesus, that You are the Saviour of the world. I believe You died for me and that You rose again to be my Saviour and Master. I trust You for the forgiveness of my sins. I believe You are the Light, and I ask You to shine into my heart, right now, and drive out the darkness, and make me “light in the Lord.”

Saviour, I give myself to You, and by Your grace, will follow You from this day on. Please come into my life and make me a new person; make me Your true disciple. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, and set me free from my sinful habits.

I trust You, Master, to keep me in Your hands until You come again to receive me to Yourself.

Thank You Father for hearing my prayer. Thank You Master for taking my sins away. Thank You for coming into my heart, and for saving me this day.

Thank You, my Father. Amen.

 

 

     Signed ........................................... Date .............

 

If you have prayed to the Heavenly Father, and received Y’shua as your Saviour today, would you also drop me a line, that I might rejoice with you, and pray for you.

 

Write to:

       Bro. Don Stanton, Maranatha Revival Crusade at one of the MRC addresses.

 

 

A FEW INSTRUCTIONS

New believer, new child of God, here are a few instructions aimed at helping you grow in your new spiritual life:

1     Study the Bible.  Let it be your daily food.

2     Pray to the Heavenly Father, and walk in fellowship with Y’shua your Master, regularly.    Develop your prayer life, and learn to worship your Heavenly Master.

3     Witness.  Tell others about your Saviour.

4     Be baptized, and take a public stand for your Master.

5     Have regular fellowship with other believers, and be established in a Bible-believing fellowship group or  church.

6     Keep your eyes on your Saviour.  Put Him first in your life, and always seek to be obedient to His Word.

 

 "PART  FOUR"

 

A PARTIAL RAPTURE?

 ONE common fear, which is encouraged by shallow or faulty teaching, is that some believers may not be caught up in the Rapture (or may not be accepted into heaven should they die before the Rapture), if they are not “up to the mark.” Some believers live in great fear as they imagine they may not be good enough to be included in the saved.

This fear is based on the idea that salvation, although paid for at the cross, and although it is a gift which is received through simple faith, really depends on our own performance in the long run. But that is a false concept!

It is by the mercy of God that we are saved - by grace, through faith, as Paul so clearly declares:

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward mankind appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous works that we have done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of regeneration (the new birth), and through the renewing power by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us abundantly through Y’shua the Messiah our Saviour, so that, having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”   (Titus 3:4-7)

No one is good enough to receive salvation. And no amount of “holy living” is going to qualify a person to enter Heaven. Our qualification is Y’shua, and His righteousness. If we are in Him - the Messiah, we are in the Light, and we are accounted worthy to be received into the Father’s House.

So there is no question of a partial rapture. There’s no question of the Bridegroom leaving part of His bride behind.  The Bride is made up of all true born again believers - those who belong to Him. They are His body. They have been redeemed, justified, and accounted worthy by His grace. And the Body, the Bride, must be complete. There will be no missing legs or arms; not even an eye lash!

God’s work of making us spiritually mature and perfect is a different matter. That is a process which continues right throughout our lives. It is completed when we reach eternity, when we are like our Master.

This process is called sanctification. The word means the process of “being set apart” from evil, and “being set apart” to God. It includes our reaching towards maturity, learning godliness, and our preparation for higher, eternal service.

Some believers make good progress in holy living; others make less progress. All of us are somewhere between 1% and 99% in personal holiness. But it is not the degree of progress we make that saves us. It is the work of Y’shua the Lamb of God, at Calvary.

“For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Master; walk as children of light.”    (Eph. 5:8)

So we must not confuse the work of justification by which we are made “light,” with the work of sanctification by which we are made “bright.

After coming to Calvary, the believer is counted as “light,” and he then begins his new life in the Light. His “corners” are gradually “ground off” as sanctification works deeper  in his life.

On the other hand, an unbeliever, although he may improve his exterior, remains “dark,” and outside the Kingdom of Light. He  becomes, in fact, more and more like the devil, and will want to flee from the Light of the eternal Majesty.

The sketch below , I trust, will help to make this more clear.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

 

 "PART  FIVE"

 

When  will  the  Church

be  Caught  up

 

THIS IS a question that is being asked frequently today - and that’s not surprising, for it is evident the Tribulation is going to commence soon. Multiplying signs are pointing to the imminent 7-year climax of the age.

Undoubtedly “the Man of Sin” is active behind the scenes today, waiting for his dramatic revealing - the event that will signal the beginning of the Day of the LORD.

And as the Tribulation will be an unprecedented period of tragedy, terror and tyranny - the worst time of trouble ever to come upon the world, believers should be concerned to know whether they are right in looking for the Rapture before the Tribulation begins. For if the Rapture is not before the Tribulation, then believers will need to prepare for the worst. They will need to plan for a hiding place - unless they simply resolve to accept torture and to put their heads on a guillotine.

Are we right in watching for the signposts, and getting excited at the prospect of being caught up at any moment?   Are we right in hastening unto the coming of the Master, and expecting His call at any moment? Or should we be looking for the revealing of the “Man of Sin.” Should we be fortifying ourselves for the things that must take place, and for a final fiery trial of believers as Satan unleashes the greatest period of persecution the world or the saints have, or will ever, know?

The time of the Rapture is a question that has been debated, and duelled over for a long time. Arguments and counter-arguments, anti-counter-arguments, and counter-anti-counter-arguments have been propounded by scholars and non-scholars, by students of prophecy, by Professors of Philosophy, by Bachelors of Artistry, Masters of Magniloquence, (lofty expressions) and Doctors of Diaereses (dots and tittles). It has been a free-for-all.

There are issues involved which have caused great confusion.

One main reason why there are various opposing views is the difference in Biblical interpretation about Israel and the church; about the nature of the Tribulation; about who the saints in the Tribulation are; about persecution, and whether the Tribulation is the wrath of God or the wrath of Satan; about whether the Rapture is indeed imminent; about when the Man of Sin will be revealed, and about whether the coming of the Master is in one or two stages.

Another reason, of course, is the fact that the vast subject of prophecy provides much scope for people to form their own private opinions and “scheme of events.”

When it comes to prophecy, the common man is often left wondering if anyone can be sure of anything. One may ask, “Why hasn’t God shown us more clearly, so we are not left in doubt?” Some imagine that prophecy is so unclear that it is better to leave it alone.

My reader, we need not be afraid of the subject. But let us remember it is Satan who loves to create confusion, and thereby to rob believers of the joy of the Blessed Hope.

I believe the Rapture is imminent, and that it will take place before the Man of Sin is revealed - before the Tribulation.

I do not ask any reader to accept what I say simply because I say it. But I do ask my readers to pray and ask the Spirit of God to reveal whether what we teach is true or false. I do ask you to pray and ask the Father whether we are right in expecting the Saviour's return at any moment before the Tribulation, or whether we should be expecting to see the Antichrist, and thus should be preparing for the “hour of trial.”

Several things we should keep in mind, are ...

1. God has not written the Bible like a University text book. The Bible is a series of messages, revealing the truth in multiple ways, and giving answers to every type of need, for people everywhere, in all generations.

2. The Bible has been written for people who will be raptured before the Tribulation, but it has been written also for people in the Tribulation, as well as for people in the Millennium.  (Isaiah 40:8. 1 Peter 1:25)

3. The conclusion on the timing of the Rapture is not based on a “proof text.” The truth must be based on systematic in-context exegesis (explanation and interpretation) of Scripture.

4. While recognizing that symbolical language is used in parts of prophetic revelation, we should take the main body of the prophetic Scriptures quite literally, just as we take other Scriptural subjects. A “spiritualized” approach can lead to quite fanciful and very false interpretations.

A general rule is that when the Scriptures make plain sense, there is no need to seek any other sense. When symbols are used, an interpretation should be sought within the canon of Scripture itself.

 

 

Reasons Why the Church Will be

Caught up BEFORE the Tribulation

The first is, because Y’shua, Jesus the Messiah Himself, promised the church ...

 

1.  Exemption from the Trial

“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you out of (Gr. ek - out of) the hour of trial which is about to come upon the whole world, to try those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly.”                                                                                               (Revelation 3:10-11)

How consistent this verse is with the blessed hope - the Master’s promise to come again and receive His people to Himself.  (John 14:3)

Some may ask, “How can we say this promise is for all the churches, and not only for the Philadelphian church?”

The seven messages given in chapter 2 and 3 of Revelation are undoubtedly for all churches throughout this 1970+-year period. Whenever the message is needed, then it should be heeded. This is why each message ends with the words, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Each message was given to meet a very particular need in each of the churches named, but each message also comes to us today - to meet us in our particular needs.

The Book of Romans was written for our teaching, not only for the Romans.  And the promises given in Thessalonians are given for our sake also, and not merely for the first century Thessalonians. Likewise with the seven letters.

In the message to Philadelphia the Master speaks about the worldwide trial - not a trial only for that assembly in the ancient city of Asia minor. It is clear the Lord intends this promise for believers who are in fear of the world-wide Tribulation, of which He warned in Matthew 24:21.

“But,” some will say, “why do you take the promise of keeping in 3:10, and not take the promise of 2:10: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you a crown of life.”

We do indeed take that promise also! And believers in many parts of the world are holding to this promise at this very moment. Other promises are given in these seven messages also; but there are two references that are specifically referring to the Tribulation - Rev. 3:10 and Rev. 2:22.

The first promises “keeping from” or “out of” the trial; the second promises tribulation for false Christianity:

“I will cast her (Jezebel) upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent to her deeds.”    (Revelation 2:22)

The Master has given Jezebel time to repent (verse 21), but she does not want to repent. She is therefore to be cast into great tribulation. Those who are involved in an apostate system, but who do repent, are given the promise that they will not be cast into Tribulation. The keeping from the Great Tribulation is thus offered to those who do repent.

But the counter-argument says that God will keep His people in the Tribulation, not out of it.

No doubt Y'shua will sustain, in miraculous ways, the great number of believers who are saved in the first half of the Tribulation and who will be living on earth during that time.

But the promise of the Master to His Bride is not that He will keep us in the hour, but out of the hour of trial.

Notice the promise is not that He will keep us from trials - believers have plenty of trials and persecutions at the present time - but that He will keep us from the hour - the period of the trial.

Some argue that the preposition used in Rev. 3:10 is “from.” But the Greek word used is ek, which means "out of."  It is literally, “I will keep you out of the hour of trial.”

Another verse that promises deliverance, is given at the end of the Lord’s prophecy on the tribulation upheavals.

“But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”   (Luke 21:36)

Note; the Lord doesn’t say, “pray that you will be worthy,” but “be accounted worthy.” We could never expect to escape because of our own worthiness; but if we are in Christ, then we are counted worthy, because we have been justified through faith, on the basis of His precious blood.

When we have such comforting promises given by our Master, our Bridegroom, we are not wrong in expecting to escape the Great Tribulation.

If the Tribulation were only persecution of the saints, then we would not expect to be kept out of it, because Y’shua said that in this world we would be persecuted.  But the Tribulation is nothing less than ...

 

2.  The Wrath of God

The main purpose of the Tribulation is judgment for the world. The Great Tribulation is the climax of man’s 6000+-year dispensation upon earth. During that time, mankind has been in rebellion against the Almighty. While many have responded to God’s voice, and have been saved and blessed, the majority of the world has habitually gone its own way. Now time is up! It is time for God to settle the score!  It is time to purge the earth!

And yet, even in the Tribulation, God is willing to save. That period is also called “the Day of Jacob’s Trouble,” because it is a time when YHWH will smelt the hardened nation of Israel, and turn its people to Y’shua the Messiah. This smelting will prepare them for His Kingdom.

Several promises given to the church assure us that we will be saved from the wrath of God; including the following:

“For God has not destined us to suffer His wrath, but to receive salvation through our Master, Y’shua the Messiah.”   (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

In the context Paul is speaking about the coming of the Messiah, and “the Day of YHWH” - the day of darkness.

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”   (Romans 5:9)

“... you 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 - Y’shua, the One delivering us from the wrath that is coming.”   (1 Thess. 1:9-10)

“The Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptation and trials, and how to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.”   (2 Peter 2:9)

Some may reason that these verses refer to the future wrath - the lake of fire. But if we cannot believe these promises regarding deliverance from all wrath of God, then how can we accept that He will indeed keep us even from the lake of fire?

Some will argue that the Tribulation is not the wrath of God, but it is the wrath of Satan against believers. That period is indeed a time of increased demonic activity, and of intense persecution. But it’s much more; it’s the period of the wrath of God, as is seen in many passages describing the Tribulation.  (See Isaiah 13:6-13, Zephaniah 1:14-18). Also ...

“Surely the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze, says YHWH of Hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”  (Malachi 4:1)

Revelation also is so definite that it is God’s wrath coming upon the whole world.

“They called to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the Presence of Him (the Almighty) who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath has come; and who is able to stand (before it)?’”                         (Revelation 6:16-17)

The judgments under the 6th seal are, the sun turning to blackness, and the moon to blood; the stars falling to the earth, and a great earthquake. We cannot say these things are the wrath of Satan. Rather, it is clearly written, it's the wrath of the Lamb.  It's the Great Day of His Wrath.

Knowing that the Saviour has taken our sins away completely and that He has set us free from condemnation, the promises above are very precious indeed. If we are true believers, they give us much assurance, for we know that what He has promised, He will definitely fulfil.

A third reason why the church will not go into the Tribulation but will be caught up prior to that time, is because the Scriptures present the coming of the Lord as ...

 

 

3.  An Imminent Hope

Imminent means, “impending” or “something that could happen at any moment.” The return of the Bridegroom has always been an imminent expectation of believers right down through the church age.

The  Master’s promise  to return to receive His people, in John 14,  implies  a constant imminent possibility, for in the absence of any indication of the actual time of the event, we are left expecting it at any time.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and receive you to Myself, so that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:3)

If the Rapture is to take place only at the end of the Tribulation, as Post-Tribulationists teach, then we could not say that the Master may come at any time.  But it is not merely the Pre-Tribulationists who say the Master may return at any tick of the clock; Y’shua Himself, in teaching about readiness, said He may return at any time.

“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.”                (Luke 12:40)

In Matthew 24, the Master teaches about His return in great glory at the end of the Tribulation, and about the gathering of the “elect” (believing Israel) to the land and the Kingdom. Then in the parable of the Fig Tree, Y’shua says that He is near, right at the door!  But no-one knows the day or the hour of His return. Many will be taken away in judgment, others will be left to enter the kingdom.

In concluding that section of the prophecy, the Master exhorts His people to be faithful and ready.

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Master is coming . . . for this reason you also be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”   (Matthew 24:42, 44)

What else could these disciples believe except that the Master could return at any time?

The nearness and imminent possibility of the Master’s return is taught  by James, John, Peter and Paul.

James says: “Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Master is near.”  (James 5:8)

John says; “Abide and continue in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”              (1 John 2:28)

Again John says: “... when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He is. And every one who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure.”  (1 John 3:2-3)

So the Rapture is presented as a purifying hope. And it becomes a purifying hope, more and more, as our expectation of the imminent return increases.

Now if John had said, “Look! After the Tribulation we shall see Him, therefore comfort one another with these words,” we might possibly respond by saying, “I hope the Master doesn't come very soon. I hope I die at least seven years before He comes.”

Be sure, if the church, the Bride of the Lamb, was to go through the Great Tribulation, the loving Bridegroom would not hold back the information.

The Master did tell the church at Smyrna. “You will have tribulation ten days.” (Rev. 2:10). And that church did experience severe persecution.

Y’shua also warned us believers that the world will hate and persecute us. He never covered up this fact in an effort to keep us from worrying about coming trials. No!

 

It's a Blessed Hope  (Expectation)

Paul also warned that we will suffer with Christ (Romans 8:17).  But he certainly does not warn us that we must endure the Tribulation. Rather he says;

“... live sensible (self-controlled), upright and godly lives in this present age, awaiting and looking for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Y’shua the Messiah.”(Titus 2:12-13)

Paul says that believers had turned to God, “to wait for His Son from Heaven.”  He also says:

“Let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober . . . For God has not destined us to suffer His wrath, but to receive salvation through our Master, Y’shua the Messiah.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6,9)

In the context of the passage (1 Thes. 4:13 to 5:11), it is clear that Paul was speaking about the Rapture.  Again in 1 Corinthians 1:7 and Philippians 3:2-21, Paul speaks of “eagerly awaiting” the return of the Master.

Peter says: “YHWH is not slow concerning His promise ... but is patient toward you ... what kind of people ought you to be, in holy and godly behaviour as you look forward to and earnestly desire the Day of God.”  (2 Peter 3:9, 11-12)

Peter does not say anything anywhere to suggest the Lord won’t come until after the Tribulation.   But He does say that in the last days there will be mockers!  (2 Peter 3 3:3-4)

There is no verse that says, “Get ready for the Tribulation.”

We are told that in the world we will have tribulation - that is, persecutions, trials and troubles. Peter said:

“You have been distressed by various trials, that the proving of your faith . . . may be found to result in praise, glory and honour at the revelation of Y’shua the Messiah.”         (1 Peter 1:6-8)

There is nothing about the Tribulation period in this passage. “Various trials” are not the Great Tribulation.

Trials, we all know, are a part of the believer’s life, so that we might reach on to maturity. But if someone says the church must go through the Great Tribulation so that it might be purified during that time, then we must ask, what about the church that is already in heaven - the greater part of the church? These believers have escaped the Tribulation, so why should the end-time believers of the church not also escape it ?

There is no verse in Scripture to say exactly when the Rapture will take place. But there are verses to say exactly when the Master will be revealed with His angels - that is, at the very end of the Tribulation.

Some say the Rapture will take place at the time the Beast and the False Prophet are destroyed. (Rev. 19:11-21)

But to say the Rapture must take place on that day, is to say the Lord can’t come any day before then. But as you look into Revelation 19, there is no hint of a Rapture associated with that Revealing. The counter-argument says that there is a Resurrection at least mentioned in Rev. 20:4, which occurs after the Battle of Armageddon. True, it is a resurrection; and it is very clear who the resurrected ones are:

“Then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom authority to judge was given. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because  of  their  testimony  for  Y’shua  and because of the Word of God - these had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark upon their foreheads or upon their hands. They came to life and reigned with the Messiah for the thousand years.”    (Revelation 20:4)

That is the resurrection of martyred believers from the Tribulation. There is nothing to suggest that these resurrection believers are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord. And there is certainly no mention of living saints caught up at the same time. So the Rapture is not implied in that passage. Furthermore, this resurrection happens after the battle of Armageddon, and after the Lord’s revealing - not during the Master’s return in glory.

If the Rapture is set for the middle of the Tribulation, the people living at that time would be able to know exactly the day of the Lord’s coming - they would simply calculate 3 years from the start of the 7-year covenant.

Or if the Rapture is scheduled for the end of the 7 years, then it would simply be a matter of  counting 7  years (2520 days) from the revealing of the man of sin and the start of the covenant.

A post- or mid-Trib Rapture then, does away with the imminent expectation of the Lord’s call. But Y’shua said:

“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Luke 12:40)

Now let us consider...

4. The Dispensational Aspect

Some enemies of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture try to brand dispensationalism as the hallmark of prophetic apostasy. But that is as unfair as it is false. Dispensational teaching is consistent with God’s revelation to us, and we cannot ignore it if we would “rightly divide the Word.”

Dispensationalism is the teaching that there are a number of different ages in human history, such as the age of Innocence (before the Fall), the Antediluvian age (before the Flood); and that God has worked in various ways in each age, or dispensation. There is, however, a continuity line running right through the ages.

True, there are extreme forms of dispensationalism, just as there are extreme forms of every doctrine - which are false. Certainly it is wrong to compartmentalize every portion of Scripture, and make it apply to one age only. We cannot say that only some sections of Scripture are relevant to us in our time. But we can say that certain portions were intended, primarily, for specific times.

The Word may be applied differently, according to the stage of God’s dealing with His people, although basic principles are unchanged.

As an extreme example; do we allow our child to play alongside the cobra’s hole because the Scripture says the child shall play by the hole of a cobra (and not be harmed)?  (Isaiah 11:8). That passage is clearly referring to the Millennial kingdom - the Age of Glory that has yet to come. There is, no doubt, also a spiritual application of this verse for this present age.

God has led His people, step by step. As greater light has been given, greater responsibility and maturity has been expected. In the age of law, men got away with polygamy (having more than one wife.) And sometimes we wonder why, for it is very clear that God will not tolerate that in this age. Why?  Because we are under a new covenant.

The law said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” And even though that law might appeal to our carnal sense of righteousness, we know that we are now under a higher law - the law of the Spirit of life and love in Christ Jesus.

The plan of Salvation is one main theme running through all the ages. But surely it is clear that although sacrifice was required in all ages after the Fall, the requirements have not been the same in all ages. The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not have the full sacrificial system as was introduced during the Dispensation of Law. Nor are we, in this present age, required to fulfil that sacrificial system. We have the perfect Sacrifice, the Lamb of God who was slain once for all.

There is indeed a very real difference between the age before the cross (the Dispensation of Law) and the present age, (the Dispensation of Grace.)

That difference must be admitted, otherwise, while confessing we believe in the unity of the Bible, we would be confused as to just what applies to the church.

Calvary brought an end to the Old Covenant. We are now under a New Covenant. The Aaronic priesthood and the Mosaic system, including animal sacrifices, were done away with. What remains of the Law, and what has been carried over into the New Covenant, is, of course, the principles and precepts of God.

This does not mean that the Old Testament is irrelevant for the church; and it does not mean that the New Testament will be obsolete for the people living in the Millennium. God’s revelation has been progressive down through the ages, and it abides for ever. (1 Peter 1:25)

The Old Testament is preserved as a major part of the Scriptures, and it formed a foundation for the further revelations given in the New Testament.

Both Old and New Testament have important messages for people living in the Tribulation, as well as for us. Take for example, Matthew 24:9-27, which speaks of Tribulation conditions. Although it has instruction for us at present, the prophecy is primarily for the Jews living at that time.

The context itself makes this clear. Luke 21:28, on the other hand, which tells us to look up “when these things begin to take place,” is no doubt a promise of coming redemption for believers at the end of the church age.

We need to keep in mind that there are three distinct groups - the Jews, the Greeks (Gentiles), and to the Church of God (1 Corinthians 10:32), and that the LORD works out His purposes for each, in His own way and time.

 

The Tribulation is not part of the Age of Grace

When we carefully study the period of the Tribulation, we see that this is not a part of “the Age of Grace” - the Age of the Church. It is neither a part of, nor a conclusion of, the present dispensation in which the Master is gathering out of all nations a people to comprise His Bride and Body. 

The Tribulation rather, is the long-delayed period of seven years that concludes the "70 weeks" (490 years) that has been allotted for the nation of Israel. (Daniel 9:24-27). It is called the time of Jacob’s Trouble. (Jeremiah 30:7)

It is the period when God once more calls His covenant nation to repentance, causing them to embrace their long-rejected Messiah. He will thus deliver them from the bondage under the Law which has had them shackled for so many centuries.

(The Law was necessary, of course, as a “schoolmaster” to teach them the ways of God, and to bring them, in due time, to Christ.) (Galatians 3:24)

Israel rejected the freedom and salvation that is in Y’shua the Messiah, when they said, “Away with Him.” But God, who is rich in mercy, did not annihilate that nation as He did with some, such as the Amalekites.  Rather, He planned, in “the fullness of time,” when “the times of the gentiles” would be fulfilled, to bring Israel to the Fountain where “sins are washed away.” (Zechariah 13:1)

But until the fulfilment of the Times of the Gentiles, Israel would wander in the wilderness - for a second time. The first desert journey was in the Sinai - for 40 years. Israel’s second wilderness experience - in a very dry “wilderness of bones,” is one that has lasted for 1,900 years. (Ezekiel 37)

And the great majority of the people of Israel today - both those in the land and those amongst the nations, are still in that spiritual wilderness.

But now, as the church is nearing completion, God is calling His ancient people “to enter the land” - not only the land of Israel, but “the life of promise” as described by Ezekiel:

“And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, YHWH, have spoken and done it,’ declares YHWH.”  (Ezekiel 37:14)

The Great Tribulation is the period in which God will purge Israel, and bring “one third” through the fire. (Zech. 13:8-9)

At the same time, the Tribulation is “the trial to come upon the whole world.” (Rev. 3:10). Indeed, it is nothing less than the wrath of God coming upon this rebellious generation. (Revelation 6:15-17). But the Tribulation is not a purgatory for the Body of the Messiah.

 

5.  The “70 WEEKS” of Daniel

Let me explain why the Tribulation is part of a completely different dispensation to the church age.

In Daniel’s prophecy, chapter 9:24-27, it is clearly revealed that “70 weeks” are allotted to Israel and the holy city, to make atonement for sin, to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to anoint the most holy place. This prophecy will be completely fulfilled when Messiah begins to reign.

The “70 weeks” are weeks of years, not weeks of days; i.e., each week is seven literal years. The first 69 “weeks” (483 years) started from the decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, which was given by the Medo-Persian ruler, Artaxerxes in 445 B.C. It ended with the triumphant entry of the Messiah into Jerusalem, a few days before He was “cut off” -  that is, crucified.

The remaining “one week” (seven years), was not fulfilled after the 69th week. And it has never been fulfilled. The 70th week has been put on hold for this 1970+-year  period, while God is calling out of all nations, a people for His Name - a Bride for His Son.

When the Bride, which is also called the “Body of the Messiah,” is complete, the Bridegroom will take this body of believers to the Father’s House. God will then take up His specific program with Israel once more - during the 70th week.  Thereafter He will bring in ever-lasting righteousness.

The reason why God has suspended the 70th week, and “stopped the clock” as far as Israel is concerned, is because;

1.  Israel has not been ready to receive the Messiah.

2. The Master must call out a people for His Name - the Bride - out of all the nations, so that she might take her place alongside the King when He reigns over the whole restored world. After the Bride is complete. Israel will be saved, purified and prepared to become the centre of the world, and a blessing to all the earth.

The teaching of the 70 weeks of Daniel is very important to our understanding of the Tribulation and God’s dealings. Indeed, it is from Daniel’s prophecy that we know the Tribulation lasts for seven lunar years. (7 x 360 days). The Book of Revelation does not specifically say how long the Tribulation lasts, but it does speak of 1,260 days (the witness of the two prophets - ch 11); 1,260 days (the nourishment of the woman - ch. 12);  and 42 months (the reign of the beast - ch. 13.)

If we ignored Daniel’s prophecy, we would not know if the Tribulation will be 3 years, 7 years, or 10 years.

Now if we accept and place significance on Daniel’s prophecy, we must accept the fact that there has been a long 1,970+ years parenthesis between the 69th and the 70th weeks.

Parenthesis means brackets (   ). A parenthetical period is a period that is inserted into another period, but which, although it may form a part of the whole program, is itself a separate period altogether.

We may illustrate the church age in brackets like this:

Pre-Trib.

 

A-millennialists do not accept our interpretation for the 70th week at all. They claim the 70th week was fulfilled immediately after the 69th week, without a break - 3 years after Calvary.

The timing of the Rapture - Before, in the Middle, or After the Tribulation - does not concern A-millennialists as they completely reject a 7-year Tribulation at the end of the age.

As the 70th week has still to be fulfilled, it is clear that the church age must be a parenthetical period. Otherwise there would be no justification for a delayed 70th week.

It is not logical for the 70th week to be part of the parenthesis, while being part of the overall period!

We might have brackets within brackets, but we cannot have a period in the parenthesis and outside at the same time. This is the diagram that would be drawn by the Mid-Trib. and the Post-Trib. views.

 

If you put the church in the Tribulation, then you may as well put Daniel’s prophecy into the archives.

The dispensational aspect, and particularly the prophecy of the “70 weeks” supports, and demands, that the Bride of Christ be removed from the scene before the 70th week.

The next reason why I believe the Rapture will take place before the seven years is because of the . . .

 

 

6.  Total  lack of  evidence to prove the Church is on earth during the Tribulation

Many are emphatic that the church will go through the Tribulation because the book of Revelation speaks of saints on the earth during the 7 years. A Post-tribulation-ist says, “that proves the church is in the Tribulation.”

But it doesn’t! We affirm that there are saints on earth during the seven years, but we emphatically deny that they are members of the church. They are, in fact, a body called Tribulation Saints - people who will come to Y’shua and be saved in the first half of the Tribulation. (Revelation 16:9 & 11 suggests that no-one repents in the second half.)

Post-tribulationists often reject the teaching that Israel, the church, and the Tribulation saints are different bodies. They claim, like  A-millennialists,  that  the  church  is  “spiritual Israel.” But we reply, “No! Spiritual Israel is the believing part of the nation of Israel.”

It is true that we believers are called the children of Abraham. We are his seed by faith, not by physical descent - unless we are Hebrews. Remember, even Abraham was not a part of “spiritual Israel!” He died even before Israel was established.

The church is part of the Household of God, even as spiritual Israel is, but that does not make us Israelites. (My brother and I belong to one household, but that does not mean that my brother and I are one body, does it?)

Some who maintain that the church is not a new body, but is a continuation of the spiritual Israel, like to cite “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). But this is a shallow argument. The word ‘church’ (ekklesia in Greek) simply means ‘assembly.’

There was indeed an “assembly in the wilderness,” but there's no way it can be called “the church, the Bride of the Lamb.”  Messiah’s church was still future. In Matthew 16:18, Y'shua said, “Upon this rock I will build My church.” This new Body was begun at Pentecost.

Ephesians 2:12-16 shows that the church is a new body - a body composed of both Jews and Gentiles. It was previously a mystery but it is now revealed - a new body, a Bride, a special companion for the Son of God; a mystical body composed of believers from Pentecost to the Rapture; a people with a heavenly calling, who belong to a heavenly city - the New Jerusalem - in the Father’s House.

Jewish believers from this present age share that heavenly calling with us. But Israel, as a nation, is one with an earthly inheritance - a kingdom that is to come in the renewed world. Israel is destined to be a blessing in the midst of the earth. (Isaiah 19:24)

The Bride of Christ shares in the Millennial reign, of course, but not as a nation on earth. Her place is in the palace of the King; it is the New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven, and is positioned above the earth. (Revelation 21:2,24)

Some people ask, “How can people be saved if the church is taken away?”

It is God who saves, not the church! He will pour out His Spirit (Joel 2:27-32). He will also send two witnesses to prophesy in Jerusalem (Rev. 11:3-12). He will raise up and seal 144,000 Messianic Jews in that period. (Rev. 7:3-8). They will be Spirit-filled evangelists like the apostles. There will also be millions of Bibles available after the Bride has been caught up. For a short time, before the Bible-burning begins, the Scriptures will fall into the hands of those left behind, and people who are anxious to know what has happened, will read them, and many will believe, and be saved.

 

The Church is in Heaven

during the Tribulation

In the first five chapters of Revelation the church is mentioned many times. In chapters 2 and 3 we see the seven progressive stages of the church on earth; but then, in chapters 4 & 5, we see the redeemed in heaven.

“And around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments; and they had crowns of gold on their heads . . . and they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals, for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe, language, people and nation. You have made us kings and priests to our God, and we will reign over the earth’.”  (Revelation 4:4, 5:9-10)

There has been a lot of debate about the identity of the 24 elders - some insisting that they are angelic elders rather than redeemed, glorified human elders. But the fact that they are sitting on thrones, with crowns upon their heads, indicates that they are elders of the universal church, for we read: “We shall also reign with Him.”  (2 Timothy 2:12)

Again Paul says, referring to the church ...

“The saints shall judge the world,” “and if the world is judged by you ...”  (1 Corinthians 6:2)

The Master earlier told His disciples,

“You will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”     (Matthew 19:28)

We would certainly call the twelve apostles, elders, wouldn’t we?  And it may be that Y’shua has chosen 12 other elders to judge the gentile nations.

The fact that they are already crowned, also indicates that the Judgment Seat of Christ (where the church is evaluated, and given rewards - crowns) has already taken place. And as the Bride - the church - is one body, we would expect the members to be judged at one and the same time.

Notice also, seven times in Revelation 2 & 3 (before the Rapture), we read, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.”  But in Revelation 13:9, during the Tribulation, and we read, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.” The church is missing.

In Revelation chapters 6 to 19 - the Tribulation period - there is no mention whatever of the Bride on earth.

But in chapter 19, (before the Revealing of Christ), the completed Bride is seen in heaven, prepared and already glorified - in fine linen, bright and clean. It is written, “the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (v.8)

The fine linen here is not referring to the imputed righteousness of Christ with which we are already clothed, but in this context, it is the tested, spiritual works of the believers - the gold, silver and precious stones that have passed through the fire of the Judgment Seat, and that have proven worthy. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

The Marriage of the Lamb will be held before the resurrection of the Tribulation martyrs of Rev. 20:4, which indicates the Church and the Tribulation believers are two separate bodies. So this passage adds to the evidence that the Bride is caught up to heaven before the Tribulation. Certainly she is in heaven before the Lord returns to earth at Armageddon which is at the end of the Tribulation.

 

7. Contrast: the Rapture and the Return

Post-Tribulationists say the Rapture and the Return to earth are one and the same event, and that it takes place at the end of the Tribulation. We do not believe this is possible, because of major differences between the two events.

The Rapture and the Return are both part of the Second Coming of Christ, true! But they can be satisfactorily explained, only by describing them as two stages. Notice the differences on the next page:

            

     

The Rapture    

The Return

Before the Tribulation the  Lord meets the saints in the air.     

After the Tribulation the Lord descends to Mt Olivet;   surviving remnant are gathered before Him on earth. 

The living saints are caught up without dying.

There is no catching up to the sky.

The saints (the Church) go to the Father’s House with the Master.   The Tribulation saints are are ushered into the kingdom on earth.
The judgment of the world begins.   The judgment is concluded. 
The Rapture is imminent.    The Return, predictably, follows the reign of the Beast.
The Rapture is a ‘mystery’ - not revealed in the O.T.   The Return was revealed by several OT prophets.
The Rapture concerns only the saved.      The Return concerns both saved and unsaved.
The Restrainer is taken out of the midst; which allows the conspiracy of  Satan to proceed.   The conspiracy of Satan is destroyed.
Satan goes forth with great wrath to destroy.     Satan is bound.
The Rapture is an exclusive promise to the church.       The Return is promise for Israel.
A private revealing.    A public revealing.
Believers taken to heaven, instantly, invisibly, in the twinkling of an eye.   Unbelievers sent to Hades to await the final Judgment and Lake of Fire. 
Christ revealed to church. Rom 8:18   Christ revealed to the world with the church. 1 Thess 3:13
The church gathered.   The elect of Israel gathered.
Believers transformed. Phil 3:21   Creation restored. Acts 4:21

  

You will notice that these two events are always dealt with separately. The translation of saints is never mentioned in any passage dealing with the return after the Tribulation. And neither is the return to earth mentioned in the passages dealing with the Rapture.   (John 14:1-3. I Thess. 4:14-17, I Cor. 15:50-57)

 

"Gathering the Elect"

Some may argue that the Rapture is pictured in Matthew 24:30-31, but this passage is dealing with the Messiah’s Revealing when He returns to earth to establish the Kingdom.

“... and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY (Dan 7:13) with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather together His elect (His chosen people) from the four winds, even from one end of the heavens to the other.”        (Matthew 24:30-31)

These verses may fit the interpretation of A-millennialists who believe the return of the Master completes God’s program for the world with a general resurrection, and the destruction of the planet.  But as A-millennialists do not believe in a future kingdom on earth, nor in the seven-year Tribulation, their arguments and views do not arise in our present discussion on the timing of the Rapture in relation to the Tribulation.

The above verses mention the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds, the trumpet sound, and the gathering of God’s elect, which, at first may appear to be the Rapture.  But it's not so!  It is a different event.

In this passage there is no catching up of the saints, and there’s no going to the Father’s House. Neither is there a resurrection mentioned, but there is a tremendous gathering which is accomplished by the angels.

At the Rapture, however, the angels are not called upon to gather the church. There is simply the voice of the arch-angel. 1 Thess. 4:16 says the Lord comes with the trumpet. In 1 Cor. 15:52, it says the last trumpet will sound. But there is no reference to angels gathering the believers.

The difference is that the Rapture before the Tribulation catches the church up to the clouds and to the Father’s House; but the Return of Christ to earth after the Tribulation, gathers His saved Tribulation people into the Millennial kingdom. It is most presumptuous to say these are one and the same event.

Some say the word “elect” in Matt. 24:31, proves this is the church that is gathered after the Tribulation. Not so! The word “elect” (Heb. bachir; Gk eklektos) means “chosen.” In one place the Lord Jesus Himself is called the elect (1 Peter 2:6).  In another, the elect refers to angels (1 Tim. 5:21). In other places the elect refers to the church, or to certain individuals; and it also refers to the saved ones from the Tribulation.

 

"The  Last  Trump"

Another argument that comes up from the Matthew 24:31 passage, is “the trumpet argument.” In 1 Cor. 15, we read of the Resurrection and Rapture, at the sound of the last trump. According to the trumpet argument, Matthew 24:30-31 proves that the Rapture  is  not  before  the Tribulation.

There are also mid-Tribulationists (those who believe the Rapture takes place in the middle of the seven years), who insist that the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15 is the last trump.

Some post-tribulationists also maintain the last trump is the 7th trumpet, but they say that this seventh trumpet sounds at the end of the Tribulation.

It is presumptuous to identify the trumpets like that. The seven trumpets of Revelation are trumpets of judgment, whereas the “last trump” of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is a trump of summons.

The last trump that Paul speaks of, is the summons or call to the church - the trumpet sound of God. The seven trumpets of Revelation on the other hand are trumpets given to angels - to announce God’s wrath.

In studying the details of the seventh trumpet in Rev. 11, we read nothing of a rapture or resurrection. But we read only of an anticipation of the kingdom of God. But more important, the seventh trumpet certainly does not end the tribulation - there are still seven bowls of wrath to be poured out upon earth, including the battle of Armageddon.

The last trump is the last summons of a particular event. Throughout the church age, trumpets have been sounded, heralding the coming of the Lord.

Today the Messiah’s people are sounding trumpet warnings, but the last trump is the summons,  the call - “Arise Beloved - and come away.”

H A Ironside has explained the familiar military expression of the last trumpet. “When a Roman camp was about to be broken up, whether in the middle of the night or in the day, a trumpet sounded. The first blast meant, 'Strike tents and prepare to depart.'  The second meant, 'Fall into line,'  and when what was called 'the last trump' sounded, it meant,  'March'.”

The "trumpet arguments" can be a very noise exchange, and if guns were used instead of trumpets, I guess most of the prophecy teachers would be looking forward to the Resurrection, rather than the Rapture.

 

8.  The Order of Events

The scheduled order of events for the church requires a time period between the Rapture and the Revealing.  The following order is essential so that the Bride can be glorified, and revealed as the Wife of the Lamb, when He is revealed in glory.

“When the Messiah, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)

i     The Rapture

ii    The Bema Seat  (The Evaluation - the Judgment Seat of Christ). 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.

Here the believers’ lives are evaluated.  The “gold, silver and precious stones” represent that which is truly spiritual in their lives. The believer’s carnality - the “wood, hay and straw” - is purged by fire so that he stands perfected in Christ, and glorified.

“And whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”   (Romans 8:30)

iii   The Marriage of the Lamb and the Bride

The Bride, having passed through the Bema Seat, is now in a perfect condition to be presented to the Messiah as His glorified wife. All taint has been removed. All tears are wiped away. (Rev 21:4). Not a blot, or spot, or tear remains to mar her glory.

“Bright and clean fine linen was given to her to wear; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the set-apart people of God.”   (Revelation 19:8)

The Marriage then takes place, and the status of the Bride is changed from “Betrothed” to “Married.” 

iv   The Revealing in Glory

The Bride is revealed, not as the Messiah’s betrothed, but as His glorified wife during the revealing of the King of Kings. (Rev 21:9-11. Col. 3:4)

The Pre-tribulation rapture allows the Master to receive the remnant of His Bride from on earth, unite them with the ‘dead in Christ,” take them to the Father’s House, evaluate, reward and array them in glorious dress, and formally present them to Himself; and, after the marriage, to manifest them with Himself in glory at His return - when “every eye will see Him.” (Revelation 1:7)

A Post-tribulation rapture which sees the Rapture and the Revealing as the one and same event, does not allow time for the Bema Seat and Marriage of the Lamb.

And if it is replied that the Bema Seat and the Marriage takes place in the skies immediately after the Rapture, then that argument itself implies there are two stages in the second coming. (But Post-tribulationists ardently reject any idea of two stages.)

A serious fault in the Post-tribulation view is that it leaves believers expecting death and resurrection, and not the hope of the Rapture, for very few will escape martyrdom in the Tribulation.

“He (the Beast) was given power to make war with the set-apart people of God (the Tribulation followers of Y’shua), and to overcome them.”    (Revelation 13:7)

The Tribulation saints, definitely have the specific promise of resurrection (Rev. 20:4). But the church has the specific promise of being caught up without dying. (1 Thess. 4:16-18)

 

9. THE JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS

Another important point. In Matthew 25:31-46 we read of the judgment of the nations after the Master returns to the earth. The surviving people, both sheep and goats - saved and unsaved - are brought before Him, and are then separated.

But if the Rapture took place at the end of the seven years, that itself would  be a separation, so that there would then be no need to divide sheep from goats - for only goats would have been left behind (unless you insist on a partial rapture!)

Matthew 25 also indicates that the sheep and goats are still in their natural bodies. How is it that the sheep are still in that condition if the Rapture has just taken place?

No, the sheep here are Tribulation saints, not the church.

 

10. THE SUBJECTS WHO REPOPULATE EARTH

Another problem with the Post-tribulation view is that it does not leave any believers on earth to inherit the kingdom. If all believers are caught up and glorified after the Tribulation, who would be the subjects in the kingdom on earth?

All the goats (unbelievers) will be cast into outer darkness. And the glorified believers will not repopulate the earth, for they now have the spiritual bodies that do not procreate physical children. Clearly the destination of the Church is the Heavenly City.  (John 14:1-3. Rev 21)

The heavenly Jerusalem is “the palace” from which the Messiah, with the Bride at His side, rules over the millennial kingdom.

The believers (the sheep) who enter the kingdom (Matthew 25:34), are Tribulation believers, not the church.

Of course, Post-Tribulationists may bring up various counter arguments, and we might keep on countering counters, like barristers in a court of law, until it comes to a stage where one is dueling over the box and not over the treasure.

 

 

11. The Tribulation is NOT a type

of Purgatory for the Church

Some people imagine the church should go into the Tribulation because it has become worldly, or lukewarm, and therefore it should be purged or cleansed during the seven years.  No so! This would be making the Tribulation a type of purgatory.

And why should the final generation of the church be singled out for purging in the Tribulation?  And why should all believers be consigned to that purging?

Y’shua, the Lamb of God, has already made purification of sins  -  He has already purged His people by His atoning blood. (Hebrews 1:3)

The church stands justified through faith in the Saviour, on the basis of the precious shed blood of the Lamb. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

The time of testing by fire of the works of believers is at the Judgment Seat of Christ - not in the Tribulation.

 

 

12. The Restrainer must take the Church away

Before the Man of Sin is Revealed

There has been a lot of debate on the passage in 2 Thessalonians 2, which speaks of the coming of Y’shua our Master, the Day of the LORD, and the subsequent revealing of the Man of Sin.

“And you know what is restraining him (the Man of Sin) now, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the mystery of iniquity and lawlessness is already at work; but He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way (or out of the midst). And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Master will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the glory of His coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8)

We identify the Restrainer as the Holy Spirit, for He is the only One who restrains the evil plan of Satan. And He does that largely through the presence of the church in the world. Believers are called “the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13)

Some have tried to identify the Restrainer as the Roman Emperor, or the Roman Empire.  In that case, the Man of Sin should have been revealed when they passed away.

Others say that the Restrainer is the present order, or government, which will be violently thrown down by the new world order. But which present government or ruler could be truly called, “The Restrainer”?

It is the Holy Spirit who is certainly holding back the conspiracy of Satan; and He will continue to do so until He is taken out of the midst. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, but He can certainly withdraw His restraining influence.

But how could the Holy Spirit withdraw His Presence, or His influence, from the church that He permanently indwells as the Temple of God?  He must take the Church away.

The Holy Spirit is like Eliazer in the story of Isaac, who escorts the Bride to the heir, who is waiting on the outskirts of his city. (Genesis 15:2, 24:1-67).  Y’shua is waiting in the sky as the Holy Spirit escorts the Bride to the Heir of all things, on the portals of Heaven

Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit is the Restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2, and this is further evidence that confirms the Pre-tribulation Rapture.

Some argue that the Rapture can’t take place before the Tribulation because 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says the Rapture will not take place unless the Man of Sin is revealed. But that is not what the passage says.

The prophecy makes it clear that the Day of the LORD (the Tribulation) will not take place unless the Man of Sin in revealed. And verses 6-8 are saying, the Man of Sin will not be revealed until the Restrainer is taken out of the midst. So the order of events is ...

      i      The Rapture (the Restrainer removed)

      ii     The Revealing of the Man of Sin

      iii    The Day of the LORD (the Tribulation)

A  question  is,  “Is  there  an  interval  between  the Rapture and the Day of the LORD?”

Quite possibly. There was an interval between the end of the 69th week of Daniel (9:27), and the commencement of the church age at Pentecost - about 54 days. So it is possible there could be some days in between the Rapture and the time Antichrist is revealed.

It is possible, however, that the Man of Sin will be revealed immediately after the Rapture. The revealing of the Man of Sin takes place with the signing of the 7-year treaty.  And the Tribulation, (the 70th week of Daniel) begins from the date the treaty actually comes into force.

 

 

13.  Old Testament Types

Old  Testament  types  confirm  the  Pre-tribulation Rapture. Y’shua the Messiah said, ‘As the days of Noah,’ and ‘as the days of Lot,’ so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

1. Enoch, the man of God who was caught up to heaven before the flood, is a picture of the church which will be taken away before the Tribulation.

2. Noah, and his family, are a type of Israel which is preserved through the time of wrath.

3. Lot and his two daughters, who were caught away from Sodom before the fire fell, are a type of the church who will be caught up before this world burns in the Tribulation.

 

 

14. AMBASSADORS MUST BE WITHDRAWN

“We are ambassadors for Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

All born again believers have become citizens of Heaven, and are ambassadors for the King of Glory. 

Before a war or a pending major disaster, a country’s ambassadors must be recalled to their own country.

 

15. Literal Interpretation

The Pre-tribulation Rapture teaching is based on a literal interpretation of Scripture. In fact, this is the only view which allows a literal interpretation of all OT and NT passages on the Tribulation.

It is not based on natural desires to escape suffering and the terrible time of wrath, but rather, it is based on the principle of sound interpretation of the Word of God.

The Pre-tribulation Rapture, we believe, harmonizes the relevant passages, without strained arguments. It does not confuse the Church with Israel and the nations, and God’s dealings with each of them.

It recognizes the differences between the chastening of the LORD, and the wrath of God; the age of grace, and the 70th week; the provision for exemption for the Bride, and the preservation of saints in the Tribulation.

We do not claim that we have produced faultless “arguments,” but we do believe that this is a consistent and balanced interpretation, that gives God the glory, and that presents the Rapture as the imminent and . . .

 

BLESSED HOPE,

which is both purifying, and a

constant comfort for all who eagerly await

the Master’s return.

 

MARANATHA!

Y'shua the Messiah is coming soon!

(1 Corinthians 16:22)

Amen !

  

 

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