I had always been taught and believed in a pre-trib. rapture up until just recently .The change began when God told me I needed to pray more. The 3rd day about 45 min. into prayer God began to speak to me about the deception in the church. The spirit was telling me that the spirit of Babylon was in many churches in America :( Rev. 18:3-4), For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the Earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the Earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries. 4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying: come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues! The burden was so great I could not bear it; it was like the spiritual wind had been sucked out of me. Then God began to lead me threw end time prophecy and began to show me the events, kingdoms, and leaders unfolding right in front of our eyes. The most alarming part about this whole thing was the over whelming sense that the church was not ready for what was about to happen. As God lead me threw my studies of end time prophecies and current events I began to notice there was no clear promise of being pulled out before trib. in fact there were many very clear warnings of going threw this time. Jesus thought it was so important that in Matt. there are 3 whole chapters devoted to the topic of end times. For instance
Matt. 10:21-22 21"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
This scripter is clearly the hour of testing of tribulation. Jesus clearly tells us in v.22,He who stands firm until the end shall be saved.
This is not doom and gloom it is the Christian life. In surrender we find freedom, joy, rest and revelation, the abundant life Jesus came to give. How much do we really trust Jesus?
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."
If it was important for Peter to know that Jesus was going to require him to walk threw martyrum. Then I believe it is important for us to know if the Lord is going to require us to go threw tribulations. Suppose you believe in a pre-trib. rapture and you find your self in the middle of the most distressful time in history and you are told to take the mark or you or your childs life will be required. During that moment there can be no questions because if you were wrong in that area you could be wrong in others. This would bring doubt in one of the hardest moments of you life. This is why this issue is very important to me. Peter tells us that false teaching is destructive in 2 Peter 2:1 it has been the devils agenda to twist Gods truths and deceive Gods people sense the beginning. All we have to do to see the destructive nature of heresy is look at the fall of man. God has put a burden on my heart to make sure it doesnt happen at the end also. I hope you see the motivation of my heart, Love always protects. John 16:1 Jesus says, All this I have told you so you will not go astray.
Matthew 24:9-13 (New International Version)
9"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Notice it says many will turn away. Why? Because they were not ready, their faith was shaken; they did not count the cost. Why? Because they thought they would escape the time of tribulations. Also note the love of most will grow cold. If we have not reckoned with this fact we may not have the faith to keep our hearts right, like Steven in Acts 7:60,Lord, do not hold this sin against them. Now, once again we see the quote, but he who stands firm until the end will be saved.
There are many scriptures to study on this subject and I highly recommend studding this subject in depth. For the sake of time I am now going to shift gears to pinpoint chronological order of what people call the rapture.
The pre-trb rapture was not taught for 1800 years after the death of Christ.
Margaret McDonald, a 15 year old Scottish girl, and member of Edward Irving's congregation, had a
Vision in early 1830 that included a Secret Rapture of believers before the appearance of the Antichrist.
She informed Irving of her visions by letter. Irving then attended the prophecy conferences that began in
Dublin Ireland in 1830 at Powerscourt Castle, where he promoted both Futurism and a Secret Rapture.
John Nelson Darby (18001882), a Church of Ireland clergyman, later with the Plymouth Brethren, also
Promoted Futurism and a secret rapture. Darby attended the series of meetings on Bible Prophecy that
Began in 1830 at Powers court, Ireland, and at these conferences Darby apparently learned about the
Secret rapture as revealed by vision to Margaret McDonald and promoted by Edward Irving, and he
Soon visited Margaret MacDonald at her home in Port Glasgow, Scotland. Darby later visited America
Several times between 1859 and 1874, where his Futurist theology was readily accepted.
Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843‐1921), greatly influenced by the writings of J. N. Darby, incorporated
Futurism in the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible. First published by Oxford University Press in 1909,
One million copies were printed by 1930. The Scofield Bible was instrumental in firmly establishing the
Futurist interpretation in the Protestant Bible schools of the United States in the 20th century.
Scripture interprets scripture. So we are going to use something I like to call the fence post method that means we are going to use scriptures that talk about the same thing put them together in a manner where they line up with one another. This is an easy way to get the correct interpretation of scripture. There are three things that will give us the ability to identify a time line of the rapture. The 1st is the sun being darkened and the moon turning to blood, the 2nd is the loud command and last trumpet call, and the dead in Christ rising from the dead,
29"Immediately after the distress of those days
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'[A]
30"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Note v.29 says immediately after the distress of those days putting this event at the end of tribulations. Note the sun and the moon are also listed to be after the distress of those days in Mark 13:24 Luke 21:24-25 and in Rev. 6:11-12 in all of these scriptures it shows us after the3 ½ years of persecution, then the sun and the moon, then Christ will appear and gather his people .A good study note is the 6th seal, trumpet, and bowl are all chronologically at the end of tribulations. The 7th of all three are the last judgment executed by Jesus at Armageddon. The end of the 31/2 years of persecution, the 2nd coming of Christ and the gathering of the elect, 2 witnesses or the resurrection of the saints show us the seals trumpets and bowls run concurrently or at the same time.
Mark 13:23-27 (New International Version)
23So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
24"But in those days, following that distress,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
25the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'[A]
26"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
9When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11Then each of them was given a white robe and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
12I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"
1After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3"Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." 4Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
5From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
6from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
7from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
8from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
The Great Multitude in White Robes
9After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10And they cried out in a loud voice:
"Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb."
We have already heard the terms gather, a loud command and a trumpet call and the coming of the Lord. Let us look at the trumpet call and commanded. In 1st Corinthians 15:49-54 Paul tells us the rapture happens at the last trumpet call. Paul also gives us a lot of detail on the purpose of this event,
1 Corinthians 13:10
but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When we see Jesus His appearance changes us. We receive our glorified bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:49-54 (New International Version)
49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we[a] bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, and then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."[b]
There are two things in this section of scripture that are time line identifiers :( The last trumpet and the dead will be raised imperishable.) Keep in mind it list the dead first then us afterwards this is important for time line. Before we go to revelations lets look at 1 Thess.4:15-17.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (New International Version)
15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
I want you to note Paul emphasis is on we who are still alive at the coming of the Lord will certainly not precede those who are dead and that Paul said they got this information from Jesus Himself. Now lets look at Rev.11:11-15 for the last trumpet and Rev. 20:4-6 for the resurrection of the saints.
Revelation 11:10-15 (New International Version)
10The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
11But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.
13At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.
The Seventh Trumpet
15The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever."
Not only is the 7th trumpet at the end of tribulations but another time identifying fact is that the two prophets are given power to prophesy the whole time the saints are persecuted according to Rev.11:2-3 The 31/2 years definitely puts the rapture at the end of trib. We also see the 2 witnesses or the 2 prophets, the saints and the elect all go at the same time. The events all match perfectly.
Revelation 11:2-3 (New International Version)
2But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth."
Remember Thess. 4:15-17 and 1 Cor. 15:49-54 both said the dead in Christ would raise first. Lets see if we can find the dead rising Rev.20:4-6
Revelation 20:4-6 (New International Version)
4I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
About half way threw v.4 you see the souls of those who had been for the testimony of Jesus .So the soul are in heaven but it says they are raised to life and in v. 5 it says this is the first resurrection. They were given their immortal bodies and after that so shall we who are still alive be given our immortal bodies. Then we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air .This is when Christ is coming down to throw the false prophet and antichrist in the lake of fire. The 7th judgment, the END.
All of Rev. is written to the churches and for the churches.
Revelation 22:16 (New International Version)
16"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
I think we would do well to take it to heart
Rev.1:3 blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
John 21:17-19 (New International Version)
17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
In His service. Ezekiel 33:6