Rapture of the Church, When, Part 1

There are primarily three perspectives in regards to the time when the rapture of the church occurs. The first is called a Pre Tribulation Rapture (rapture before). The second is called a Mid Tribulation Rapture (rapture in the middle). And the third is a Post Tribulation Rapture (rapture after). These three perspectives are hotly contested, debated, and divisive. The discussion of “when” this event takes place has no bearing on one’s salvation. People who hold to any of these positions believe that Christ died for sins, resurrected…Heaven bound. All three positions are members of the body of Christ. A pastor I know has made a common sense statement. “Good men can respectfully disagree.”

I will be up front. I hold to a Pre Tribulation Rapture position. This is the conclusion I have come to after reading and re reading the text over a period of 20 plus years. I am not telling anybody what to think. I am not telling anybody they are wrong. Dogmatism in opinion solves nothing. Because somebody stomps their foot harder and yells louder does not result in a change of mind and thinking.

Be a Berean. Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Do not take my word or anybody else’s word. Search, read, study. There is too much at stake, your eternal future.

What is the church? The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia. Per Strong’s Concordance it is translated or defined as: a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly; an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting; those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body; the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth; the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven.

Colossians 1:18 He (Jesus) is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

Ephesians 5:22-33 Draws parallels between Christ (husband) and the church (bride/wife). He is the savior of the body. He gave Himself for us. We, as believers, are members of His body. He washes and cleanses us with His word. He takes care of us. We are to submit to Christ.

The Tribulation is a seven year period of Divine judgment on the people of planet earth because of our sin. It is a matter of simple justice. Approximately 13% of the Bible is written about this seven year period. If the data points of time in the Bible are taken literally in terms of ages of people and reigns of leaders, the earth is roughly 6,000 years old. This seven year period represents .0005 of history (3.5/6000). Approximately 13% of the Bible focuses on .05% of history! Two chapters in Genesis were dedicated to Noah’s flood. Humanity is being given disproportionate, ample, and considerable warning. Matthew 24:21-22 “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” –Jesus.

Would the ultimate expression of Husband allow His bride to be beaten and bruised by His Father’s judgment and wrath? Would that be “just” to allow the church to be effectively judged twice? Our sins as believers were paid on the cross. Do we need to pay again during the Tribulation?

Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all…

4 Responses to “Rapture of the Church, When, Part 1”

  1. Irv Spielberg Says:

    Pretrib Rapture Pride

    Pretrib rapture promoters like Thomas Ice give the impression they know more than the early Church Fathers, the Reformers, the greatest Greek New Testament scholars including those who produced the KJV Bible, the founders of their favorite Bible schools, and even their own mentors!
    Ice’s mentor, Dallas Sem. president John Walvoord, couldn’t find anyone holding to pretrib before 1830 – and Walvoord called John Darby and his Brethren followers “the early pretribulationists” (RQ, pp. 160-62). Ice belittles Walvoord and claims that several pre-1830 persons, including “Pseudo-Ephraem” and a “Rev. Morgan Edwards,” taught a pretrib rapture. Even though the first one viewed Antichrist’s arrival as the only “imminent” event, Ice (and Grant Jeffrey) audaciously claim he expected an “imminent” pretrib rapture! And Ice (and John Bray) have covered up Edwards’ historicism which made a pretrib rapture impossible! Google “Morgan Edwards’ Rapture View” and journalist/historian Dave MacPherson’s “Deceiving and Being Deceived” for documentation on these and similar historical distortions.
    The same pretrib defenders, when combing ancient books, deviously read “pretrib” into phrases like “before Armageddon,” “before the final conflagration,” and “escape all these things”!
    BTW, the KJV translators’ other writings found in London’s famed British Library (where MacPherson has researched) don’t have even a hint of pretrib rapturism. Is it possible that Ice etc. have found pretrib “proof” in the KJV that its translators never found?
    Pretrib merchandisers like Ice claim that nothing is better pretrib proof than Rev. 3:10. They also cover up “Famous Rapture Watchers” (on Google) which shows how the greatest Greek NT scholars of all time interpreted it.
    Pretrib didn’t flourish in America much before the 1909 Scofield Bible which has pretribby “explanatory notes” in its margins. Not seen in the margins was jailed forger Scofield’s criminal record throughout his life that David Lutzweiler has documented in his recent book “The Praise of Folly” which is available online.
    Biola University’s doctrinal statement says Christ’s return is “premillennial” and “before the Tribulation.” Although universities stand for “academic freedom,” Biola has added these narrow, restrictive phrases – non-essentials the founders purposely didn’t include in their original doctrinal statement when Biola was just a small Bible institute! And other Christian schools have also belittled their founders.
    Ice, BTW, has a “Ph.D” issued by a tiny Texas school that wasn’t authorized to issue degrees! Ice now says that he’s working on another “Ph.D” via the University of Wales in Britain. For light on the degrees of Ice’s scholarliness, Google “Bogus degree scandal prompts calls to wind up University of Wales,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “be careful in polemics – Peripatetic Learning,” and “Walvoord Melts Ice.” Also Google “Thomas Ice (Hired Gun)” – featured by media luminary Joe Ortiz on his Jan. 30, 2013 “End Times Passover” blog.
    Other fascinating Google articles include “The Unoriginal John Darby,” “X-raying Margaret,” “Margaret Macdonald’s Rapture Chart,” “Pretrib Rapture’s Missing Lines,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Pretrib Rapture Politics,” “Pretrib Rapture Stealth,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Open Letter to Todd Strandberg,” and “Roots of Warlike Christian Zionism” – most from the author of “The Rapture Plot” (the most accurate documentation on pretrib rapture history) which can be obtained by calling 800.643.4645.
    Can anyone guess who the last proud pretrib rapture holdout will be?
    (Postscript: For another jolt or two Google “The Background Obama Can’t Cover Up.”)

    • Time will tell, just following the Biblical pattern. Enoch was taken away from judgment before the flood. In regards to pre trib rapture teaching in the early church, there are plenty of examples: (Papias (60-130), Clement of Rome (90-100), The Sherpherd of Hermas (96-150), Ignatius of Antioch (98-117), Barnabas (100), The Didache (100-160), Justin Martyr (110-165), The Epistle of Barnabas (117-138), Irenaeus (120-202), Tertullian (145-220), Hippolytus (185-236), Cyprian (200-250), Lactantius (260-330). To say it was not present and does not exist is inaccurate. At any rate, this proves nothing. Everyone has to come to their own conclusion. God is going to act. Just facilitating thought…

      1 Thessalonians 5:1-9 We (believers) are not destined for wrath. They (unbelievers) will not escape…

  2. You disclose your position prior to making it official, by stating that your view doesn’t have a connection to salvation. That makes you pretrib. All the other views know the parable of the sower. You see the Parable of the sower is a message of salvation. The rocky soil addresses the pre-trib view. Those who are unprepared for tribulation and persecution will immediately stumble or fall away… Mark 4:18

    Paul tells us that before we can be gathered together with Him… (via rapture 2 Thess. 2:1) there will be a great “falling away” (Greek word apostasia where we get apostasy and apostate form in English) Who goes apostate? According to Jesus the stony soil does. Yes, I know that the pre-trib view has conjured up an idea that the “falling away” means depart… therefore it means rapture… so now we have…. We can’t get raptured (gathered together with Him) until…vs 1 We get raptured (fall away) vs. 3. Nice attempt to turn the Scripture into a false circular reasoning… which came first the chicken or the egg? Circular reasoning doesn’t fly, but rather destroys an argument.

    Consider Peter’s prophesy of an end time mock…”Where is the promise of His coming?” Only an apostate pre-tribber can mock this mockery… no one else believes it to be imminent.

    Speaking of imminent… The rapture isn’t imminent… for the Great Tribulation to be the worst time ever for the Jews…Jer. 30:7, Matt.24:15-21, the population would have to be double of what it currently is…. Hitler killed over 6 million Jews…. That’s the population of Israel today. Israel isn’t going to be eradicated of Jews when the Messiah comes but rather occupying Israel. Zech 14:1-4

    P.S….. you should consider changing your color scheme on your blog to something that doesn’t hurt peoples’ eyes.

  3. Be a Berean

    1. The Word states that Jesus will return in the manner that He left… ACTS 1:9-12. He left from the mount of olives to the sky to heaven. He will return in LIKE manner….. Heaven to the air/clouds (1 Thess. 4:16,17, Matt.24:29-31)… to the mount of olives… Zech 14:4,5 with all of His saints.

    2. The Word of God states and calls the event in 1 Cor. 15:42-54 the resurrection of the dead. (pretribbers call this the rapture). However, the Word declares that those who die for not taking the Mark of the Beast are resurrected at the FIRST resurrection… Rev. 20:4,5

    3. All the element of surprise… “like a thief…”, and “no man knows the day or the hour…” all fall on the description of the Second Coming … 2 Peter 3:10, Rev. 16:15. Jesus states, “OF THAT DAY, no man knows the day or the hour…” Matt. 24:36. What day??? the one just described in the previous verse that informs us that the heavens are destroyed. Peter tells us that the heavens are destroyed at the Second Coming. If a rapture were to occur 7 years prior, it would make Jesus into a liar concerning the nature in which He stated how He return for the Second Coming… “like a thief…” A rapture would announce and declare the timing of the Second Coming.

    4. Paul goes to a great extent to explain the mystery in 1 Cor. 15. The return of Christ is first mentioned in verse 24. The body of his message is to explain and debunk the teachings of the Saducees. The Saducees believe that there is no spirit, no angels, nor resurrection… see Acts. 23:8. So here in this passage Paul is explaining that we indeed have a spirit body and a Earthly/natural body. Often Paul discusses this fact in other Scriptures, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” There is no need for a Earth suit/natural body in heaven. Yet so many miss the nature of the mystery that Paul is explaining. The mystery is not about the rapture (being caught up), but rather about the resurrection of the dead (see vs.42), and what happens to the Earth suit (physical body/ natural man). Our spirits are eternal, they are not mortal nor can they rot in the grave and become corrupted. The mortal and corruptible bodies are our natural Earthly ones. The mortal speaks of the living, and the corruptible speaks of those who have died.

    In Acts 2 we are informed that Jesus natural body did not become “corrupted” in the grave. In other words it didn’t rot and decay. This was prophesied in the Old Testament. So we are made to understand that Paul is talking about the dead saints who’s bodies have become corrupted by rotting and decaying. Paul is stating that we will not all “sleep.” This means that we will not all come to rest in the grave by dying. Those who are alive (and remain) will change in a moment from mortality to immortality. This is the exact opposite of what happened to Adam at the fall when he sinned. He changed from immortality to being mortal. Death entered into the World through sin. Prior to sin Adam’s “Earth suit” could not die.

    Paul calls this event the “resurrection of the dead.” He also informs us that the dead saints will again get new natural bodies that cannot be corrupted, rot, or decay. This is the mystery that Paul is referring to in this passage. The reason that the dead saints will need a new physical body is because Jesus is not going to rule and reign for 1000 years on Earth. Without a natural body, the dead saints would be disembodied spirits running around at this time with no Earth suit. We meet Him in the air…. the mortal become immortal and the dead get new incorruptible bodies. We then continue with Him to the Mount of Olives. Never do the natural/earthly bodies go to heaven…. how cumbersome! When John was told to “come up here…” he was immediately in the spirit…. Rev. 4:1,2. At the time of the resurrection we will be changed, but the word “glorified” bodies are not used by Paul to describe our new Earth suits (natural bodies).

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