The pre-tribulation rapture
This essay is an explanation of what the pre-tribulation rapture is, and why you should believe it. I mean why should a person believe in the pre-trib. rapture, or any rapture for that matter? I believe there are multitudes of reasons to believe in it, but will only give the more important (to me at least) and simpler ones in this article for brevity’s sake.
To begin, an introduction to the word “rapture” is necessary. The word “rapture” comes from Paul’s mention of being “caught up” in 1 Thes 4:17. This remark of being “caught up” was translated from the Greek word “harpazo,” which is the same as the Latin word “raptus,” and from thence came the word “rapture” in English.
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” -1 Thessalonians 4:17
Now, I would like to give a good reason to believe the rapture (or being “caught up”) is not the same as the resurrection found throughout the gospels and mentioned in Rev. 20. Paul in 1Cor. 15:51-54-a parallel to 1 Thes. 4:13-17-says he is shewing the Corinthians a mystery. Interesting! Paul many times in his epistles talks of mysteries, and is always referring to a something unexplained in the past(examples Rom. 11:25, Rom. 16:25, and 1Cor. 2:7). Though, the resurrection found in the gospels was so well acknowledged(John 5:29, 11:24-25) it is only barely mentioned in Revelation during it’s fulfillment. This resurrection could hardly be called a mystery. Another reason to believe in a difference is the fact the Paul says we’ll be “caught up,” and during the resurrection found in Rev. 20 there is no catching to anywhere! I could go on and on, but this will suffice.
I believe the main and clearest verse pointing to a pre-tribulational rapture is Luke 12:36.
“And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” -Luke 12:36
The Jews (elect) are to wait for the Lord’s return from a wedding. In 2 Cor. 11:2 the church is called a future bride for Christ (most studied christians agree with this point). With all this in mind a look at Rev. 19:7-8 is all it should take to realize the church must be in heaven before Christ’s second coming.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” -Revelation 19:7
Here the scripture tells us that wedding has already taken place, before the second advent. With this knowledge a post tribulation rapture of the church is out of the question, leaving room for only a pre-trib. rapture. This single verse is, I believe, the greatest supporter of the pre-trib. rapture position.
The promise in Revelation 3:10 guarantees a rapture before the “hour of temptation” (tribulation). Does the phrase “keep thee from” mean rapture? Lets see.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, 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.” -Revelation 3:10
The phrase “which shall come upon all the world” answers that question. The only way to keep us from temptation, that will come “upon ALL the world,” is to keep us OUT of the world. The next phrase reinforces this by saying “to try them that dwell upon the earth,” like we are already gone (because we will be). We have already received Christ and need no extra testing. When the “hour of temptation” comes we will be gone. The “hour of temptation” is certainly the 7 year tribulation. When else will there be temptation on “all” the world?
The 24 elders found in the Revelation of Jesus Christ is a great pre-tribulation rapture supporter and also a post-trib. stumper. Why are there people in heaven before the rapture? (if you’re a post tribber) Pre-tribbers can rest in the fact that they will be there, with the 24 elders, during the tribulation while a post-tribber can only be baffled at this fact. The 24 elders are not angels, they are humans washed in Jesus blood. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” -Revelation 5:9
There are many more reasons and proofs for this position, but wanting to remain brief I will stop here. An answer to some common post-trib. rapture arguments will be my focus in the next few paragraphs.
The first thing a post-tribber will do to convince a pre-tribber is try to connect the rapture to the “day of the Lord.” I’ve read someone try to do this in 1 Thes. 4-5: Claiming that the conjunction “but” always carries over the context of the previous passage to the next. This would mean that since 1 Thes. 4:13-18 is about the rapture, and the very next chapter begins with the conjunction “but” and is about the “day of the Lord” that they are the same event. (The verses are posted below for reference)
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. -1 Thessalonians 4:17
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. -1 Thessalonians 5:1
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. -1 Thessalonians 5:2
This claim is built upon a false assumption, and can be disproven biblically. In 1Thes. 4:13 a change of subject from brotherly love to the rapture is made by using the word “but,” So this attempt at making the rapture the same event as the “day of the Lord” is unfounded.
I have heard post-tribbers claim that there are only 2 resurrections, and the first is found in Rev. 20. It is true that the resurrection in Rev. 20:5-6 is called the “first resurrection,” but it is called that simply because the next event mentioned is called the “second death.” It could not possibly be the very first resurrection because countless people in the O.T. and N.T. were resurrected. Again, the evidence disagrees with this view.
None of the post-trib. rapture arguments satisfyingly line up with scripture. When the evidence is viewed this belief falls apart. Some people may realize I missed some strong points for the pre-trib. rapture; such as the doctrine of imminency, dispensations, or the fact that the tribulation is called the time of “Jacobs trouble” (by the way, it is -Jer. 30:7, Daniel 9:24). The reason I skipped these points is because it would take many pages to explain and defend them, and at the moment I am not prepared to take the time to write such a long paper. This is just meant as a short explanation of why you should be pre-trib. and not post-trib.