- Does the Holy Bible support a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
- Are there any scriptures in the Holy Bible that specifically talk about a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
These are the questions that I am going to examine in this article. Here, you might wonder why a discussion on Rapture is necessary?
Well, Resurrection of the Dead and Rapture of the believers are two fundamental tenets of Christian Faith and wrong understanding of them can lead to complacency and disappointment at the time of Christ’s Return. Instead of being the foolish virgins, we should learn to be the wise virgins who were well prepared to meet their Bridegroom at His coming.
Moreover, these two events also represent the materialization of the promise (Eternal Salvation) that Christ had given us through His Holy Scriptures.
Furthermore, the Holy Bible, in many contexts, talks extensively about these two events and fills us with the hope of resurrection and redemption of our mortal bodies. Hence, a detailed analysis of this topic is of paramount importance as it will help us to be prepared and watchful for the return of Christ.
Regarding the return of Christ – though the circumstances and signs have been described in the scriptures very explicitly, majority of the Bible believing Christians are completely ignorant about them.
Instead of studying the scriptures diligently, they just believe what their shepherds teach them. Unfortunately, these teachings are often filled with personal, denominational and doctrinal bias and they are void of any power to nourish the soul or strengthen the spirit.
Most of the Christian believers have been indoctrinated denominationally to the extent that – they have lost the ability to distinguish between a truth and a lie. They are willing to believe in a lie just for the reason that – it is part of their denomination’s basic doctrine.
Nowadays, Bible believing Christians are unwilling to accept even some of the fundamental teachings of the Holy Bible just for the reason that they have not been endorsed or confirmed by their Pastors.
Anyway, I am not interested in discussing more about these issues at the moment.
So, let us move straight to the topic of this article: Pre-tribulation Rapture.
Pre-tribulation Rapture (originated in the 1830s. Yes, until the early part of 19th century the church had no idea about this concept) is an idea that is widely promoted by mainstream Protestant Preachers and well accepted among the born-again believers.
I too was one among the crowd till recently. But, my recent in-depth analysis of the Holy Scriptures, especially the Gospels and the Book of Revelation, led me to a different conclusion; that is:
The Holy Bible does not support a Pre-tribulation Rapture but rather it gives more evidence for a Post-tribulation rapture and the presence of believers/church on earth during the end-time tribulations described in the book of Revelation and the Gospels.
Next, let us examine some of the scriptures that helped me to arrive at the above conclusion.
Return of Christ – The Most Essential Condition Required for the Rapture of the Church.
Return of Christ – Yes, this is the single most important condition that should be fulfilled for the rapture (whether it is Pre-tribulation or Post-Tribulation) to take place. I am sure, all of you will agree with this fact. According to the Holy Scriptures, the Church will not be raptured without the return of Jesus Christ. So, this raises the next question:
When Jesus Christ is Returning? Well, the Holy Bible has the answers for this question, let us examine them.
In Matthew 24, Lord Jesus is answering the question of His disciples about the end of the age and HIS return. Let us look at the verses below:
Here, the disciples are asking Jesus the following two questions:
- When shall these things be? (the destruction of the temple)
- What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?
He gives a very long answer describing a chain of events that will take place before His second coming which will also act as signs pointing to His imminent return. I am not listing all those events here as I want to keep this article short as possible.
In Matthew 24, Verses 5-20 Lord Jesus describes a set of events and in verse 21 – He talks about the Great Tribulation( (θλίψεως μεγάλης thlipseōs megalēs). that will follow those events (events described in verses 5-20). See the verse below:
From verse 21 it is crystal clear that this tribulation will not be an ordinary one that you and I have in our imagination. This is going to be a Great Tribulation – unlike anything the World has ever experienced in its history nor will it ever experience in future.
Furthermore, He also warns that – this Great Tribulation is going to be so terrible that no flesh shall survive it. But, for the sake of the Elect (The Believers, the church) it will be shortened.
And reading further, in verse 29 – 31 we get very specific details of His Return. Let us go through these verses below:
In the above verses we get the most accurate detail of Jesus’ return. Here, He says:
Immediately after the Great Tribulation the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give its light and the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken and then shall see the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven and the whole earth will mourn for Him. And they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And He shall send His angels and gather the Elect (the believers, the church – The ones mentioned in verse 22 for whose sake the period of Great Tribulation had been shortened)
Saints, now we have the most accurate answer for the question: when Jesus is returning?
As you read above, now, we know that; Lord Jesus will return only after the Great Tribulation and not before that. This also makes it clear that; the Believers will be on earth during the period of this Great Tribulation.
Please note: in Matthew 24, Jesus Himself is giving the answer for the question raised by the disciples regarding His return and definitely this is the most reliable and accurate answer.
Another point to keep in mind is – Jesus has not given the exact time of His return – the day or the hour; that is; the Calendar part is still hidden from us and He has made this very clear in the following verse.
The events described in Matthew 24, 1-35 has also been illustrated in Mark 13, 5 -27 and Luke 21. 7-28. Please refer them if you need a comparison.
Another concrete evidence for the presence of the church during the Great Tribulation can be found in Luke 21.
Here, in verses 7 – 27 Jesus describes all the events (events beginning from the destruction of the temple to the darkening of the Sun, Moon and shaking of the stars) that will take place before his return and then in verse 28 He reminds the believers that:
“When you see all these things (events beginning from the destruction of the temple to the darkening of the Sun, Moon and shaking of the stars) begin to come to pass, lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near”.
In other words, Jesus is advising the believers not to panic when those strange terrible things take place in the midst of them, but stay calm because those events are the bells that indicate their imminent redemption.
This is also another concrete evidence for the church being on earth during the Great Tribulation. The redemption happens only after all the events described in Luke 21, 7-27 come to pass. The verse below confirms this.
Again, let us look at some of the scriptures in the other books of the Holy Bible that are similar to the ones we see in Matthew 24.
For example, Isaiah 13, the verses are given below.
In the above verses as in Matthew 24, we see Prophet Isaiah describing the day of The LORD and the description is filled with punishment, distress and sorrows (From verses 6-10) which look similar to the events narrated in Matthew 24.
In addition, in verse 10-11 we see the description of the Sun, Moon and the Stars turning dark; which is also similar to the description seen in Matthew 24, 29.
Next, let us examine Joel 2.
As you see above; in the Book of Prophet Joel too, a description about the Day of the LORD similar to the one found in Isaiah 13 and it is also marked by wonders in both heaven and earth and also the Sun and Moon turning Dark.
Finally, let us examine the book of Revelation.
As you see above, the book of Revelation chapter 6, verses 12 – 17 also talks about the Great Day of LORD’s wrath, a description similar to the ones we saw in Isaiah 13, 6-13 and Joel 2, 30 – 31.
Here too, we see a time of great distress for the whole world, for everyone on earth including the great rulers who are being punished for their sins. In addition, the above verses also include the description of the Sun and the Moon turning dark and the Stars falling from sky – exactly the same description as in Matthew 24.
A description similar to what we see above in Revelation 6, 15-17 also can be found in Isaiah 2; read the verses below:
Another point to note is: These events in the book of Revelation 6 happens when the Angel opens the 6th Seal.
The Book of Revelation describes 7 seals and 7 Trumpets. Jesus Returns at the Last Trumpet (The 7th Trumpet) and the first trumpet blowing begins after the opening of the 7th Seal. The following verses give further evidence to support this point.
More evidence for the Believers/Church being on Earth during the Great Tribulation.
So far, we have examined Matthew 24 and Luke 21 to ascertain the presence of the Church during the time of Great Tribulation.
In addition to these scriptures, there is more evidence in the book of Revelation that corroborates what we have already seen in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Next, let us examine them.
Apostle John in Revelation 7 describes a vision of a great multitude(uncountable) of people robed in white who are from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the Throne and before the LAMB.
These are people who came out of the Great Tribulation(θλίψεως μεγάλης thlipseōs megalēs). These are Believers in Christ who washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the LAMB. See the Verses below.
As the verses above confirm; these – a great multitude that cannot be counted, had been through the Great Tribulation. This also clearly proves that the church was not raptured before the Great Tribulation.
Another two examples of the church going through persecution and suffering before the Rapture can be found in the following verses from the book of Revelation.
As you see, the above verses describe a time in which Satan waging a war against the church, against the people of God who keep God’s Commandments and hold fast to their testimony in Jesus Christ.
If these people are not believers, then who? If the church had been raptured before the rule of Anti-Christ, where did these believers come from?
Again, let us examine a few more verses from the book of Revelation.
In the above verses, one of the three Angels warns the people on earth that; if anyone worships the beast and its image or receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand will be tormented with burning sulfur for the whole eternity.
Furthermore, the Angel reminds and warns the children of God who keep God’s Commandments and have faith in Christ to patiently endure the persecution and suffering that they will have go through under the rule of Anti-Christ.
Saints, as the Pre-tribulation Rapture theorists argue, if the church had already been raptured, then, who are these people that receive the warning and reminder from one of the three Angels?
The Book of Revelation clearly tells us that the Church will still be on earth during the reign of Anti-Christ and believers in Christ who are not willing to worship the Beast or receive its mark on their forehead or on their hand will be tortured and killed.
In fact, many believers will lose their lives for this reason and the following verses confirm this fact.
Well, I have already given enough scriptural evidence to prove that; Believers will be on earth during the Great Tribulation and the Rapture will take place only on the Return of Christ and not before that for any reason.
Scriptures often quoted by Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theorists.
Next, let us examine some of the scriptures that Pre-tribulation Rapture theorists use to support their claim.
As it is evident, the above verses describe the sudden, unexpected nature of Christ’s return but it does contain any information about His coming before the Great-Tribulation.
In other words, these verses do not say that: Christ’s Return will be before the Great Tribulation.
In the above verses Lord Jesus is using Noah’s flood as an example to emphasize the unexpected nature of His Coming and nothing more than that.
Unfortunately, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theorists do not understand this fact written in simple, plain language. Instead, they interpret the above verses in way that suits their imagination.
Again, let us examine another couple of verses that Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theorists often quote to support their view.
Saints, read the above verses carefully, is there any information about a Pre-tribulation Rapture in the above verses?
Of course, This verse very succinctly talks about Rapture, its sudden nature (in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye) and also its timing (at the Last Trumpet). But it never says that this Rapture will happen before the Great Tribulation. So, my question is: Why Pre-Tribulation Rapture theorists want to read more than what is written in the Scriptures?
Next, let us examine another scripture 1 Thessalonians.
The above verses too very concisely give us a picture of Lord Jesus’ second coming and the redemption of the church. It talks about how Jesus is coming (with the voice of the Archangel and the Trumpet of God).
Also, it says who will be raised first (The dead in Christ) and then those who are alive in Christ will be transformed. But it does not say whether this event will take place before the Great Tribulation.
So, how can the Pre-Tribulation Rapture theorists use these verses to establish their claim? Aren’t they reading what is not written there?
God did not appoint us to suffer wrath. (Thessalonians 5, 9)
I still have one more popular verse to analyze which the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theorists often use. The verse is given below.
This is one of the most popular verses that both sheep and shepherds alike use to support the Pre-tribulation Rapture theory. However, there is a mis-understanding among the believers regarding the topic of God’s Wrath.
First, let me share my view on God’s wrath against His children.
God Almighty will never ever unleash His wrath on His children. But He punishes them for their wrong-doings. This is not out of wrath but out of love. Just as a father disciplines his child, God disciplines us. Therefore, the pain, or suffering that He allows into our life should not be construed as punishment resulting from God’s wrath.
Based on 1Thessolonians 5,9 – The Pre-Tribulation camp argue that God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation.
The above argument is true – the moment we repented of our sins and received Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we have been transformed and transferred to the Kingdom of God. God’s eternal wrath does not hang over our heads anymore. We are inheritors of God’s Kingdom through Christ.
But does this mean that while we live in this world in flesh, we will not go through sufferings, trials and tribulations?
Didn’t Jesus warn believers in Christ that; they will go through trouble in this world?
Didn’t Jesus warn believers in Matthew 24 that they will be persecuted during the end times?
Didn’t Jesus ask Believers to hold on firmly to their faith in the midst of persecution so that they will be saved in the end?
Saints, those who use the verse 1Thessolonians 5, 9 to support a Pre-Tribulation rapture has completely mis-understood this verse.
As per the Holy Scriptures, God’s eternal wrath resides on people who have not been saved by the shed blood of Christ on the cross.
We, believers in Christ, have already been saved from this Eternal Wrath of God. In my understanding; this is the wrath that Apostle Paul is talking about in the above verse.
Saints, please remember – We live in a fallen world that is saturated with sin and evil. From day one of its establishment, the church has been going through persecutions and suffering. Millions and Millions of believers have already been persecuted and killed for the sake of their faith in Christ.
Please read the verses below to get a glimpse of this persecution.
Should we interpret the sufferings of these believers as God’s wrath? – No, it was not God’ wrath. It was the wrath of Satan unleashed on them for their faith in Christ. By suffering persecutions these believers have set an example for us to follow. Remember; even Apostle Paul was persecuted and killed.
If these millions and millions of saints in Christ have already suffered for their faith, should the modern-day believers expect to be exempted from similar trials and tribulations?
Is it fair for you as a true Christian to harbour such a desire in your heart to save your flesh from the end-time Tribulation? Think about it, if you are a true disciple of Christ.
Saints, trials and tribulations will continue until the return of Christ and we, as believers, should be mentally prepared to face these things.
Regarding end-time trials and tribulations, let me share with you one more point.
The Holy Bible in many parts talks about the end-time trials and Tribulations and they might be the result of:
- Satan unleashing persecution on Believers (During the reign of Anti-Christ)
- It also can be because of God’s wrath on unbelievers, people who worship the beast and have taken its mark on their foreheads or on their hand.
But one thing we need to keep in mind is:
God is watching over us and when he sends His wrath on unbelievers, the instruments of that wrath will not harm us. Because, we will be sealed and set apart before that punishment begins.
We could see a similar pattern in the life of Israelites when they were in Egypt. All the plagues that God sent through Moses did not harm the Children of God, though they were living in the same land.
Similarly, we will be protected too. A pre-tribulation Rapture is not the only way that can save us from God’s wrath. While we are still on earth, God could still protect us if it is His Will. God’s wrath is for His enemies and not for His children.
On the contrary if Satan, through Anti-Christ, unleashes his persecution on believers; then they will receive power from Heaven to go through that persecution and stand firm in their faith. So, either way, we are safe in the hands of God Almighty who called us into His eternal Kingdom.
Saints, therefore, we don’t need to find solace in a Pre-tribulation Rapture theory to escape from the end-time trials and tribulations. The Holy Bible does not support such an idea and we need to be watchful instead of slumbering like the foolish virgins.
A Secret Rapture?
A secret rapture is another erroneous teaching that is prevalent among a large number of mainstream protestant preachers. Just as the Pre-tribulation Rapture theory; this one too, doesn’t have any scriptural evidence.
On the contrary, there is enough scriptural evidence to prove that; rapture of the Bride is going to be a public affair and not a private or secret one.
Let us examine some of the scriptures that affirm this fact.
As I mentioned earlier, the rapture of the church will not take place unless Christ returns but will His returning be in secret?
No; His return will not be in secret and the rapture of the church also will not take place in secret.
Let us examine the verses below.
As a pre-condition for Christ’s return he describes a set of events in Matthew 24, 4-29 and after these events have been fulfilled; The whole world will see the Son of Man coming on the Clouds.
And when He comes:
- The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven (in the sky).
- All the people of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
- There will be a loud trumpet call and He will send His Angels and gather His elect from the four winds; from one end of the heavens to the other.
Do you think this is going to be a secret event as you have seen in end-time movies and documentaries? No; the Rapture is not going to be a secret event.
Please read the verses given below for further evidence.
Again, in Matthew 13 too Jesus very clearly explains how the Elect of Christ will be gathered unto His Kingdom. Read the verses below.
Yes, at the end of the age, The Son of Man (Jesus Christ) will send His angels and separate the wheat from the weed. In other words; the unrighteous will be separated from the righteous and thrown into the eternal fire while the righteous will be moved into His Father’s Kingdom where they will shine like the sun.
So, the whole world will know when Christ gathers His elect from the four corners of the World. There is no reason whatsoever for this event to be secret.
But, Many of the Western Preachers are erroneously teaching that; rapture is going to be a secret event and their innocent sheep believe it.
Another couple of scriptures that talk about the second coming of Christ can be found in Zechariah 14.
Zechariah 14 is a chapter that clearly talks about the second coming of Christ. Verse 1 specifically talks about a DAY which it calls the “The Day of the Lord” – which in this context means (if my understanding is correct) the day that the LORD will return. It also talks about the difficulties that Jerusalem will face prior to this unique day.
Again verse 4 specifically says that; on that day (The day of the Lord mentioned in verse 1) The Lord’s feet will stand on the Mount of Olives and the mount of Olives will be split into two. This is one of the most compelling evidences for the Return of Christ.
Again, verse 6 says – that DAY will be a day with no distinction between day and night. Also, it will be a day known only to the LORD.
From all these evidences what we need to understand is:
The return of Christ will be an event (only the timing is kept secret, but the event is not secret.) that will be known to the whole world and it will not be something that will take place in secret.
If LORD’s return is not secret, then, the redemption of the church also will not be a secret event. So, let us look forward to seeing that unique day of our Savior’s glorious return.
Regarding the question: Does the Holy Bible Support a Pre-Tribulation Rapture?
So far, we have examined several relevant scriptures from some of the books in the Holy Bible and have come to the conclusion that most of those scriptures support a Post-tribulation Rapture rather than a Pre-tribulation Rapture.
Most of the materials put forward by the advocates of Pre-tribulation Rapture contain mostly interpretations and inferences based on various scriptures and they seem to be inadequate to establish a case for Pre-tribulation Rapture.
On the contrary, the scriptures available in support of Post-tribulation Rapture have accurate information about this specific event and hence they can be considered as solid evidence for a Post-tribulation Rapture.
Saints, please remember; God’s Word is the final authority regarding anything related to the kingdom of God and we need to believe and hold on to what the Word of God says.
Instead of believing the interpretations of flesh and blood, we need to rely on the Written Word of God.
Preachers, Pastors and Christian scholars based on their academic, social and political knowledge have done too much interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and this has corrupted the Church to a great extent.
The great falling away, compromise and apostasy that we are witnessing right now in the Christian World is the result of this unbridled interpretation of the Holy Scriptures on the part of those so-called scholars.
Anyway, unless God intervenes, there is nothing much we can do to alter this high tide of corruption.