When Is Rapture? (Part 2)

In the previous post, I have stated my case for Post-Tribulation Rapture.

In this one, I will list out some of the major arguments for Pre-Tribulation Rapture and why I find them unconvincing.

 

1- “The church is not mentioned after Revelation chapter 3 which means it must have raptured before the events of Tribulation.

This is an argument from silence.

Just because the word “church” is not mentioned in the latter chapters of Revelation does not mean it is not there.

I saw the woman (Babylon in End Times), drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
(Revelation 17:6)

And in her (Babylon) was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.
(Revelation 18:24)

For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot (Babylon) who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.
(Revelation 19:2)

“Church” (ekklésia in Greek) simply means the assembly of believers in Christ.

So if the church is indeed raptured before Tribulation, then who are these saints, martyrs, prophets and servants (i.e. believers)?

And it is clearly shown in the verse below that they are martyred during the Tribulation for their faith in Christ and refusal to worship the Antichrist (read also Daniel 7:21).

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.
(Revelation 20:4)

Some suggest they are “Tribulation converts” (people who become believers during Tribulation), but nowhere does the Bible say there is such a group of believers who are set apart from the “pre-Tribulation” saints. It is an idea that is read into the text.

For those who insist they are a different group of believers apart from the church saints, take a look what Jesus tells the Church of Sardis:

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I (Jesus) will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
(Revelation 3:5)

Keep in mind this is a church that Jesus is talking to and compare His words with John’s vision below.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
(Revelation 7:9-14)

Both passages are talking about the same group of people– the saints of the church who overcame and survived the Tribulation (“come out of the great tribulation”)?

 

2- “Tribulation is wrath from God and it is written the church will not see God’s wrath.

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
(1 Thessalonians 5:9)

Pre-Tribulationists would tell us the “wrath” here refers to the Tribulation, and the verse apparently proves that believers will not go through it.

But I disagree with it on two counts.

Firstly, from verse 1 to 8, Paul never, at any point, tell the Thessalonians they will be caught up before Tribulation (Day of the Lord), but only instruct them to “watch and be sober”.

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day (Day of the Lord) should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
(1 Thessalonians 5:4-8)

Since the preceding verses does not say anything about it, what good reason is there to suddenly insert the idea of Rapture in verse 9?

Also note the “armor of God” imagery in the passage.

As it is used Ephesians 6:10-20 to encourage the Ephesians to stand firm against the devil, Paul is using it to encourage the Thessalonians to stand firm in their faith on the Day of the Lord (read also 2 Peter 3:10-17). So why would he need to tell them to stand firm if they would not even be around on the Day?

Secondly, since verse 9 is not talking about the Rapture, then “wrath” must mean something else.

Let’s look at the AMP version of the verse (with verse 10 added in).

For God has not destined us to [incur His] wrath [that is, He did not select us to condemn us], but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ who died [willingly] for us, so that whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead) [at Christ’s appearing], we will live together with Him [sharing eternal life].
(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 AMP)

The Amplified Bible defines “wrath” as “condemnation”, and the verses tell us it is a condemnation we believers are saved from through the death of Jesus Christ.

What could that be? Let’s see how Paul usually uses the word in his other letters.

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”
(Romans 2:5-6)

 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus
(Romans 8:1)

I submit to you that the “wrath” or “condemnation” that we are not appointed to is not Tribulation but God’s final judgment on sins the lake of fire in hell!

 

to be continued

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