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 The Pre-Trib Rapture

I personally thought the following article was a fantastic explanation of the Pre-Trib Rapture. I post it here for everyone's edification as we see things grow more and more intense around the world, and we see things seemingly lining up for the final time...


by David Cloud

The word "rapture" does not appear in the Bible, but it is the term used by many Christians to describe the catching away of the saints described in 1 Th. 4:13-18. The term "caught up" in 1 Th. 4:17 is also translated "pluck" (Jn. 10:28), "take by force" (Acts 23:10), and "pulling [out of the fire]" (Jude 23). It refers to a forceful seizing and a snatching away. It is used of the devil snatching the word of God from the heart of the foolish (Mt. 13:19) and of the Spirit of God snatching away Philip after the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:39). This is exactly what Christ will do to the New Testament believers before the onslaught of the Great Tribulation.

Notes on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:

1. The Rapture is (1) a resurrection of the dead in Christ (v. 14-16), (2) a catching up and translation of the living New Testament saints (v. 17).
2. The dead in Christ are with Him in heaven (v. 14).
3. The Rapture is the believer's hope (v. 13). It is what we are looking forward to.
4. The Rapture is certain. (a) It is as sure as Christ's resurrection (v. 14). (b) It is the word of the Lord (v. 15).
5. The Rapture is a comfort (v. 18). If this translation did not occur until the end of the torments of the Great Tribulation, it certainly would not produce solace for the Christian standing on this side of the Tribulation.
6. The Rapture is before the day of the Lord's wrath (5:1-5, 9).

This event is also described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

1. The Rapture is a mystery that was not revealed in the Old Testament (v. 51). The Old Testament prophets taught about the resurrection, but they did not teach that some would be caught up without dying. The translation of the New Testament saints will involve an instantaneous change from morality to immortality. Those believers living at that hour will never see death.

2. The translation of the church-age saints is said to be a source of comfort and encouragement (1 Co. 15:58). Again, if this translation did not occur until the end of the torments of the Great Tribulation, it would not be a comfort.

Among those who believe in a literal Rapture of church-age saints, there are three general positions. All of these pertain to the timing of the Rapture in relation to the Great Tribulation. The three views are (1) Pre-tribulational, meaning the church-age saints will be raptured before the Great Tribulation. (2) Mid-tribulational (also called Pre-wrath Rapture), meaning the church-age saints will go through the first half of the Tribulation. (3) Post-tribulational, meaning the church-age saints will go through the entire Tribulation period.


For the following reasons we are convinced the Bible teaches a Pre-tribulational Rapture. In the following study, we are using the term "church" in a general, institutional sense:

(1 Th. 1:9-10; 5:1-9; Rom. 5:9; Rev. 3:10).

The Great Tribulation is expressly called the day of God's wrath. Today the Lord is withholding His anger; He is seated upon a throne of grace, but the day approaches when He will take the seat of judgment. Then "the day of his wrath" will be upon all the world (Ps. 110:5; Isa. 13:6-13; Rev. 6:16-17). It is true that in every century, Bible-believing churches have been subjected to persecution, but this is quite different from the Great Tribulation. The general persecutions of the saints are caused by the wrath of wicked men and the devil, whereas the seven-year Tribulation is a period especially pertaining to God's wrath (Rev. 6:16-17; 14:10). Some feel that the church will not be saved out of the time of wrath, but will be saved through it. This cannot be true, since the Bible clearly reveals that those who are on earth during the Great Tribulation will not be delivered from wrath but will be overcome (Rev. 13:7). The Scriptures that promise church-age believers deliverance from wrath must refer to salvation out from the very presence of the wrath. Concerning the Great Tribulation, we are told that "as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth" (Lk. 21:35). Therefore, church-age believers must either be physically removed from the earth, or they will be involved in the day of wrath. God promises removal. "... I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3:10). This verse does not say that God will keep the church age saints through the temptation but from it.

(2 Th. 2:1-8).

In other passages of the Bible, the Holy Spirit is said to be the restrainer of sin (Ge. 6:3; Is. 59:19). The Holy Spirit came into the world in His present dispensation at Pentecost (Acts 2), when He came to empower the church for the Great Commission (Acts 1:8). He will remove the church-age believers before the time of God's great wrath. This does not mean the Holy Spirit will not be present in the world at that time. He is God and is omnipresent. It means that He will not be present in the same sense that He is in this age.

(Jn. 14:1-3).

When the Lord Jesus returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, He sets up His Messianic kingdom. If the Rapture occurred at the end of the Tribulation, the promise to church-age believers pertaining to Heaven would not be fulfilled. Church-age believers are a heavenly people with a heavenly hope (Eph. 1; Ph. 3:20; Col. 3:1-3). Some dispensationalists teach that the church-age saints will live in heaven during the millennium. I believe they will live both in heaven and in earth. Jesus promised the apostles that they would reign with Him over Israel (Matt. 19:28).

(meaning that it could happen any moment) (Matt. 24:42, 44; 25:13; Mk. 13:33), whereas the Second Coming is said to be preceded by specific signs (1 Th. 1:9-10; Tit. 2:12-13; Jam. 5:8,9; 1 Jn. 2:28; Rev. 1:3).

The apostle Paul instructed the church at Thessalonica that they did not need to heed signs and times, because the New Testament believer has been promised redemption from the "day of darkness" which shall overcome the whole world (1 Th. 5:1-9). The church is waiting, not for the appearing of the Antichrist, but for the redemption of the Son of God.

(Eph. 3:1-11).

The New Testament church has no part in the chronology of events foretold by the Old Testament prophets. They clearly foretold the first coming of Christ, His miraculous birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. The same prophets described Christ's Second Coming in glory, preceded by a time of unprecedented worldwide tribulation, and followed by the establishment of the glorious Messianic kingdom centered in Jerusalem. But these prophets did not see the present church age--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" (Eph. 3:5).

Between the first and second coming, there is a time gap that was not seen by the Old Testament prophets. This gap is the church age. The prophets did not see that Israel would be set aside temporarily while God called out from among all nations a special body of people. After He has accomplished this purpose and the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, God will restart Israel's prophetic clock and will fulfill all Old Testament prophecies in relation to His ancient chosen nation. "... blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25).

The Great Tribulation deals with Israel, not with church-age believers. This present mystery period will end with the removal of the church-age believers from the earth; and the Lord will then take up His plan for the nation Israel as He fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of the time of Jacob's trouble, the coming of Messiah in glory, the re-gathering of the remnant, and the establishment of the Messianic kingdom.


According to 1 Cor. 15:51, EVERY saved person will be translated at the Rapture. Yet Mat. 25:31-46 shows that when Jesus returns to the earth at the Second Advent He will find many true believers in their natural bodies. There must, then, be a period of time between the Rapture of the church-age saints and the Second Coming to allow for these folk to be saved. It is reasonable to believe that this period is the seven years of the Great Tribulation.


(a) The church is not seen on earth in chapters 4-18.

(b) The witness for God in the earth during the Tribulation is Israel, not the church (Rev. 7).

(c) The prayers of the saints in Revelation 8 are prayers for judgment. Only Israel prayed such prayers. The church-age saints are instructed to pray for her enemies, not against them (Lk. 9:51-56). These prayers of Revelation are those of the Psalms and are based on God's promise to Abraham to curse those that cursed Israel (Gen. 12:1-3).

(d) The scorpion-like creatures of Revelation 9 are given freedom to hurt all earth-dwellers except those Jews who were sealed by the angel of Revelation 7; if church-age believers were on earth, they would be subject to this horrible judgment of God.

(e) Revelation 10 identifies the events of Revelation 4-18 with those foretold by Old Testament prophets--the days of the Great Tribulation, the "day of the Lord." The church age was never in the view of these Old Testament prophecies; it was an unrevealed mystery. The church has a different purpose and program than national Israel. It is Israel that is in view in Old Testament prophecy and in Revelation 4-18.

(f) The ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 identifies them with national Israel and with Old Testament prophecies of the "day of the Lord." The two witnesses minister from Jerusalem, Israel's capital. The churches have no such capital, her hope being heavenly, not earthly (Col. 3:1-4; Phil. 3:17-21). The two witnesses are clothed in sackcloth, typical of Old Testament Israel, not New Testament believers. Nowhere are the churches seen in sackcloth. They are told, rather, to "rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4). The church-age believer's judgment is forever past, and he is to keep his mind centered in the heavenlies where, in position, he is seated eternally victorious with Christ (Eph. 2:5-10). Revelation 11:4 identifies the two witnesses with Old Testament prophecy. Zech. 4:3, 11, 14 is a prophecy of Israel, not the church. Further, the two witnesses call down judgment upon their enemies in Rev. 10:5-6. Jesus rebuked his disciples for desiring to do just this and instructed the church-age believer to pray for the well-being of his enemies, not for their destruction (Lk. 9:54-56; Rom. 12:14, 17-21).

(g) The devil persecutes Israel, not the church, during the Tribulation (Rev. 12). There can be no doubt that the woman in this chapter is identified as national Israel. Verse 5 shows the woman bringing forth Christ; it is obvious that Jesus was brought forth by Israel, not by the churches (Isa. 9:6-7; Rom. 9:5). Also, the symbols of Rev. 12:1-2 recall familiar Old Testament typology of Israel. She is referred to as a woman (Isa. 54:5-7). The sun and moon and the 12 stars of verse 2 remind us of Joseph's dream regarding Israel (Gen. 37:9). The words of Rev. 12:2 are almost an exact quote from Micah 5:3, again referencing Israel's delivery of the Messiah. These symbols are not used in the New Testament of the churches.

 2006/8/16 13:26

Joined: 2006/1/16
Posts: 276
Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico

 Re: The Pre-Trib Rapture

As with any error, the rapture teaching reads assumptions into the Word of God to attempt to make the Word support the position of error instead of the other way around.

Simply read John 6. 3 times Jesus says that on the last day, He will raise up believers, not pre-trip. 3 times, time specific, last day. There can only be one last day.

The first resurrection does not occur until the close of the tribulation, see Rev 20:1-5. Only those saints (church members) who died for their faith during the trib will be resurrected, along with those still alive and in the faith the close of the trip when Jesus comes the second time to rule and reign with them only, not the whole church age.

Consider the parable of the wheat and tares. Who is taken away and burned? The tares, not the wheat.

Two are standing in a field, one is taken the other left behind. Wrong assumption is that the righteous is taken away. The Word does not say either way.

I could go on and on, but to those who wish to believe a lie, it wont' matter. To those who are undecided, consider what the Word says, not what others tell you it says. (Acts 17:11)

Respectfully yours in Christ Jesus,


Lahry Sibley

 2006/8/16 14:05Profile


Calling something error does not make it so. But praise God our salvation is not based on what we think concerning rapture teachings, eh?

Like Keith Green once said: "Hope for the rapture, but prepare for tribulation activity."


 2006/8/16 14:20


I could go on and on, but to those who wish to believe a lie, it wont' matter. To those who are undecided, consider what the Word says, not what others tell you it says.

By the way... it may surprise you to know that some of us who [b]do[/b] consider what the Word says have actually come to a different conclusion than you. I think it's rather judgemental of you to imply that if our conclusions are different from yours then we obviously havent consider the Word.

There's not really a place for that on this forum. I dont mind someone disagreeing with me... happens all the time. But to imply ignorance of the Word on those who you dont agree with is wrong. Also, running down those you dont agree with is not a real good way to present your argument. You should simply present your argument for or against, make your points, and engage in conversation. Not just make declarations about the people you disagree with.

But I love you anyway! God bless.


 2006/8/16 14:28

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4529


Hi Onesimus...


Onesimus4God wrote:
As with any error, the rapture teaching reads assumptions into the Word of God to attempt to make the Word support the position of error instead of the other way around.

It might not be wise to consider a doctrine or belief as controversial like this as an "error." There are many wonderful believers that have studied this matter intently and have come to a conclusion where they believe in a "rapture." There are others that are simply unsure, or are not completely certain enough to lay any sort of finality in their belief. As this topic has been discussed many times in the forums, it has sometimes led to sharp disagreements.

I believe that the Lord allows us the freedom to study these matters for ourselves and make our own determination as such. On some matters, the Word of God is completely clear. Yet on others, there is a lot of room for discussion and contemplation. It is often difficult to realize the difference between essential beliefs of Hebrews 6:1-3 -- and what is merely doctrinal speculation.

That being said, I personally lean toward a belief in a pre-trib "rapture." While I cannot say with absolute certainty, I feel that there is enough Scripture to at least consider the possibility. I like what Keith Green once said: "[i]Pray for Pre-Trib but prepare for Post-Trib[/i]."



 2006/8/16 14:33Profile

Joined: 2006/1/16
Posts: 276
Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico


Didn't mean to step on toes. But I shared with you simple truth, not suggestion and belief. If you can't trust the Word of God, well...that is very dangerous, as I understand it.


Lahry Sibley

 2006/8/16 15:32Profile


Didn't mean to step on toes. But I shared with you simple truth, not suggestion and belief. If you can't trust the Word of God, well...that is very dangerous, as I understand it.

I'll let God decide if you shared a "truth". I would prefer to say that you offered a simple interpretation. There are many a man who is/was a lot more smarter than you and I concerning God's Word who whole heartidly believed in the rapture. And the converse is true as well.

By the way... I wasnt offended, brother. I have stepped on a number of toes here from time to time, and I just want to offer some advise on how to avoid doing that. I learned the hard way.

 2006/8/16 15:51

Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164


If you can't trust the Word of God, well...that is very dangerous, as I understand it.

Amen. I think why end times discussions are so varied is because you must have a revelation of the whole word of God to understand it. Most of the interpretations of end times events stem from a different understanding of the whole view of Scriptures.

Anyone can take a few verses and say, "see it's plainly there."

Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, [u]I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation[/u], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Luk 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may [u]be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass,[/u] and to stand before the Son of man.

Josh Parsley

 2006/8/16 15:53Profile

Joined: 2005/7/26
Posts: 524
Tennessee, USA

 Re: The Pre-Trib Rapture

Dear Krispy,

I am not an authority on this topic. However, the writer does seem to miss a few things.

1. The Great Tribulation is not the wrath of God.

Indeed, the Church will be taken up before the time of God's wrath. This is made evident in many scriptures. However, the misconception many people have is that the tribulation is God's wrath. It is not. The tribulation is the tribulation of the Church. God's people will be refined by fire, so to speak. We will face immense persecution.

In Matthew 24:9 (NAS) Jesus is quoted as saying, "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name."

Has there ever been a time in history when Christians were hated by "all nations?" Obviously, this time has yet to come. The Church has faced tribulation since our birth, however, the "great" tribulation will happen just before God executes His wrath.

Notice in Revelation 6:16-17 (the last scripture in Revelation 6), it speaks of the beginning of the God's wrath. At this point, God is about to execute and bring His wrath unto earth. However, when we move into Revelation 7, the time is postponed so that God's people may be gathered from every nation. In verse 14 of this verse, after the gathering of God's people, it says, "And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

In Christ,

Blake Kidney

 2006/8/16 15:58Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA


Hi Krispy,

Went ahead and removed the other copy of this thread since Blake had copied over his reply (Thanks Blake!)

Mike Balog

 2006/8/16 16:06Profile

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