5/06/2011 | Posted in ,

Revelation 20:4,5 - And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection.

When is the first resurrection? It comes at the end of the tribulation. You can't have a resurrection prior to the first resurrection. After the dead are raised, then we are changed. (For we shall not precede those who sleep)

Matthew 24:29-31 - Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Once again, after the tribulation, Jesus gathers His elect.

II Thessalonians 2:1-4 - Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

And yet again, this gathering does not take place until Antichrist is revealed and sits in the temple of God.
The coming of our Lord and our gathering (rapture) to Him is the same event.

1 Corinthians 15:51,52 - Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Corinthians says this "Mystery" is when we are all changed.

Revelation 10:7 - But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

Revelation says this "Mystery" takes place as the seventh angel begins to sound the trumpet.

What did the early church fathers teach in regard to the rapture?

Irenaeus (140-202AD) (Against Heresies V, XXVI, 1)
“And they shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the church to flight. After that they shall be destroyed by the coming of our Lord."

Didache (50-100AD), Treatise on the Apostles by Early Church Fathers
"then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands...but they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first, the sign of an out-spreading in heaven; then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all, but as it is said: The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him. Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven."

Polycarp (69-165AD), Student of Apostle John
In addressing The Church about Revelation, “It will not be easy and it will be distinguished by trials, tribulations, and antagonisms…Stay faithful to the point of death and I will give you a crown of life.”

Ignatius (35-110AD), Student of Apostle John
“The promise [kept from the hour of trial]does not imply that the Philadelphian Church should be exempted from persecutions which should come on all other portions of the Church; that by any special privilege they should be excused from fiery trials through which others should have to pass…—to be kept in temptation, not to be exempted from temptation. The great catastrophies which come upon the earth are “temptations” to the world no less than to the Church.(Epistle to the church at Philadelphia)
He Wrote “A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation” which was addressed to the churches.
In Magnes 1:2, “In him we will, if we patiently endure all the abuse of the ruler of this age and escape, reach God.”

Papias (70-155AD), Hearer of John/Friend of Polycarp
Wrote “Interpretations of the Sayings of The Lord” stated, “there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth.” [resurrection of the dead at the end of tribulation]

Justin Martyr (100-168AD),“The First Apology”-Chap.110
"Two advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering, inglorious, dishonored, and crucified; but the other, in which He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians”…together with the most righteous, and only spotless and sinless Christ, we are taken away out of the earth.”

Cyprian (200-258AD) “Nor let any one wonder that we are harassed with increasing afflictions, when the Lord before predicted that these things would happen in the last times, Nor let any one of you, beloved brethren, be so terrified by the fear of future persecution, or the coming of the threatening Antichrist, as not to be found armed for all things by the evangelical exhortations and precepts, and by the heavenly warnings. Antichrist is coming… but immediately the Lord follows to avenge our sufferings and our wounds. (Epistles of Cyprian, LIII, p.722)

Ephraim of Syrus (306-373 AD), Section X
“And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets…the sign of the Son of Man…the Lord shall appear with great power…as the angelic trumpet precedes him…Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because the hour of judgment has come!..Then Christ has come and the enemy thrown into confusion…And he will be bound and shall be plunged into the abyss.”

Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386 AD) Lecture XV
Hatred of the brethren makes room next for Antichrist; for the devil prepares beforehand the divisions among the people, that he who is to come may be acceptable to them. But God forbid that any of Christ’s servants here, or elsewhere, should run over to the enemy!..The Church now charges thee before the Living God; she declares to thee the things concerning Antichrist before they arrive. Whether they will happen in thy time we know not, or whether they will happen after thee we know not; but it is well that, knowing these things, thou shouldest make thyself secure beforehand”.

What did Christ teach regarding the Rapture?

Luke 21:8 - And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many will come in my name saying that I am Messiah, and that the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them!

Scripture teaches that there are false prophets in the church and they may speak the truth in many areas. They may be completely sincere ministers and teachers, but they still mislead. There is however a very specific warning that Christ focuses on here. Those who are going to be misleading the church in the end times will proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah and that the time (of His return) draweth near. The "time draweth near" is referring to his promised return for them, just as it does in Matthew 24.

The words for "Draweth near" in the Greek (sunelauno eggidzo) means to be near at hand, and paints the picture that the time of His return is intently imminent, or that it could happen at any moment. Jesus warned His followers, when those who claim to be speaking in the name of Jesus say that his return is imminent, (could happen at any moment) do not follow them.

There are prerequisites to His return, as He proceeds to clarify. He said very boldly that when teachers in the church at the end of the age say that the return of Christ is imminent, do not go after them; Do not follow their teachings. He then tells them that many things will happen that will terrify most people, but that even then, the end is not imminent. He goes on to describe the days of Satan's vengeance that will cause Christ’s followers to be persecuted and killed. He speaks further of the signs in the sun, moon, and stars; The shaking of the powers of the heavens, and in verse 27 He says that after the powers of the heaven are shaken, THEN they will see Him coming in power and great glory.

This “any moment rapture” teaching will cause so-called believers to hate each other and betray each other to the death.

Matthew 24:10 - And then shall many be offended and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

WHY? What terrible traps have been laid for the Christian church?

Matthew 24:24 - For there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. BEHOLD, I HAVE TOLD YOU BEFORE.

Christ has told us beforehand - He has forewarned us -

Matthew 24:26 - If they shall say unto you, behold! He is in the secret chambers; (tameion) Believe it not!

What is "Tameion"?

Matthew 6:5-6 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Veryily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, (tameion) and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Tameion shows us that which is done deliberately in secret so as not to be seen openly. It is an intentional secret for the purpose of concealing the activity from those who could see if it were done openly.

Tameion can be translated as closet, storehouse, storeroom, inner chamber, or any place that can obscure the actions of one from being observed. Jesus is not saying that false prophets will be saying that He can be found behind a sack of flour or behind your favorite suit in the closet; The false teaching is that He will return to gather us in a secret rapture, unseen by the world.

Luke 12:2,3 - For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets (tameion) shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

If false prophets (who may be honest sincere Christians) say "Look, he will return at any time to gather his church in secret", Do not believe it! Christ has forewarned us.

Matthew 24:3 - Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the age? and Jesus answered "Take heed that no man deceive you!"

Jeremiah 14:14,15 - Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.

Common Arguments:

There are some "cute-sie" little statements in the pre-trib camp such as "Jesus wouldn't beat up his bride".

While it sounds like a nice condemning argument, it has nothing to do with scripture. Post trib believers never said anything about Christ beating up His bride.

When the plagues of Egypt hit, God's people were not affected.

1 - First Thessalonians 5:9 says we are not appointed to wrath.

According to scripture, when is the wrath?
Revelation 11:18 - The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great- and for destroying those who destroy the earth.

In Revelation 6:10,11 at the 5th seal, the martyrs in Heaven ask God when He will judge those on the earth. The Lord responds that they must wait a little while longer.
The wrath of God is also referred to as “The Day of The Lord”.

Acts 2:20 - The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:

Rev 6:12,17 - And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood….For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

According to scripture (Revelation 12:12), the mid-point of the final seven years begins the wrath of Satan. (Not the wrath of God)

2 - The Rapture and second coming are two different events.

Acts 3:20,21 - Then wonderful times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will send Jesus your Messiah to you again. For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his prophets.

Hebrews 9:28 - So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Psalm 110:1 - The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Matt. 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34, Hebrews 1:13)

3 - The tribulation is for unbelievers including Jews, not Christians.

Romans 10:12 - For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Ephesians 2:14 - For Christ himself has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one people.

Galatians 3:28 - There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Mark 13:37 - And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Romans 11:7 - What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

4 - Doesn’t Revelation 19:14 say that we return with Christ on horses to battle with Him?

Matthew 13:41 - The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

II Thessalonians 1:7,8 - And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mark 8:38 - Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

5- What about imminence?

The disciples were told to tarry in Jerusalem until Holy Spirit came. They did not expect an “any moment rapture”; They expected Holy Spirit to come. Jesus appeared to Paul and told him that he would preach in Rome. Did Paul expect to preach in Rome, or did he expect to be raptured any minute now? Jesus told Peter that he would die an old man. Did Peter expect to die of old age like Jesus said, or be raptured? Jesus said the church in Smyrna would suffer persecution ten days. From the time Christ ascended until the end of the first century, no one expected a rapture.

6 - The Church isn’t mentioned after Revelation 4 because it was raptured.

If we use the same argument, we would have to exclude Mark, Luke, John, Second Peter, First and Second John, and Jude as well, because the "church" isn't mentioned at all in those books.


1 Response to "When Is The Rapture?"

  1. Anonymous On June 30, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    [Bravo, Kingdom Studies! Am in agreement! Saw this little gem on the net. Jerry]

    Christ's return is NOT imminent !

    by Bruce Rockwell

    (Pretrib rapturists claim that Christ's return is imminent, that is, capable of occurring at any moment. Theologian and pastor Norman MacPherson, in his excellent book "Triumph Through Tribulation," offers proof that the Bible has never taught an any-moment return of Christ. Here are the points brought out and discussed at length by MacPherson:)

    1. Great Commission fulfillment implies a long period of time.
    2. Seed growth in Matthew 13 is a time-consuming process.
    3. Paul expected death, not rapture, in II Timothy 4:6-8.
    4. Jesus predicted Peter's martyrdom in John 21:18-19.
    5. Matthew 24 teaches that signs must come first.
    6. Many passages speak of a large interval between Christ's ascension and return: Jewish dispersion into "all nations" (Luke 21); "man travelling into a far country," "after a long time the lord of those servants cometh" (Matthew 25).
    7. Apostasy of last days takes time to develop.
    8. Bridegroom tarried in parable of virgins.
    9. Pastoral epistles teach Church's continuing ministry, which involves time.
    10. Paul says Christ's coming is not imminent (II Thessalonians 2:1-3), for apostasy and Antichrist must come first.
    11. View of seven phases of church history (seven churches of Revelation) involves big lapse of time and imminence difficulties for pre-tribs; could Christ have come before the last phase?
    12. Exhortations to watch and be ready are tied to what pre-trib teachers regard as the second stage (which is necessarily non-imminent) in Matthew 24 and 25, I Corinthians 1:7, Colossians 3:4, I Thessalonians 3:13, II Thessalonians 1:7-10, I Peter 1:13 and 4:13, and I John 2:28.

    (How can an "imminent" return of Christ have a greater practical effect on us than the indwelling of the Holy Spirit already has, or should have, on us? For more on pretrib beliefs and history, Google "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," "Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts," "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty.")

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