The Pre-Tribulation Rapture
fellowship as Christians is not based upon the timing of the rapture,
but upon the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Some have accused those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture
as "escapists," trying to avoid all trouble or persecution. On the contrary, the Church always has been
and always will be persecuted as long as we are in the world, but this is not
the same as the wrath of God poured out during the Tribulation. We believe the rapture occurs before the
Tribulation because scriptures overwhelmingly support a pre-tribulation
rapture, as opposed to the amillennial, post-millennial, and post-tribulation
can't be dogmatic over something that hasn't occurred yet. Whenever He comes is His will, which should
be sufficient for whatever position you hold.
In the meantime, God has given us scriptures to examine. The following is a list of scriptural proofs
that indicate the rapture will be Pre-Tribulation.
16 Proofs for a Pre-Tribulation
Proof #1: Revelation
19:11-21 doesn't mention a resurrection.
rapture is a resurrection of those "in Christ" (1 Thess.
4:13-18). Isn't it a little bit odd
that Rev. 19:11-21, which is the clearest picture of the second coming of
Christ, does not mention a resurrection?
The rapture will be the biggest event since the resurrection of Jesus
where hundreds of millions of Christians will be resurrected and translated,
yet there isn't any mention here.
Don't you think it deserves at least one verse? The rapture isn't mentioned because it
doesn't happen at the second coming.
Proof #2: Zechariah
14:1-15 doesn't mention a resurrection.
is an Old Testament picture of Jesus returning to earth at the second
coming. Again, no mention of a
Proof #3: Two different
pictures are painted.
the Old Testament, two different pictures are painted of the
Messiah—one suffering (Isa. 53:2-10, Ps. 22:6-8, 11-18) and one reigning as
King (Ps. 2:6-12, Zech. 14:9,16). As we look back on these scriptures, we see
they predicted two separate comings of the Messiah—the 1st coming as a
suffering Messiah and the 2nd coming (still future) as a reigning King.
the New Testament, we have another picture added. Again, we have two pictures painted which
don’t look the same. These two
different descriptions of Jesus’ coming point to two separate events we call
"the rapture" and "the second coming."
Proof #4: The Known Day
and the Unknown Day
the return of Jesus, the Bible presents a day we can't know and a day we can
know. Matthew 25:13 says Jesus will
return at an unknown time, while Revelation 12:6 says the Jews will have to
wait 1,260 days for the Lord to return.
The 1,260 days begins when the Antichrist stands in the Temple and
declares himself to be God (Matt. 24:15-21, 2 Thess. 2:4) This event will take place at the
mid-point of the seven year Tribulation (Dan 9:27). The Antichrist has authority to rule for 42 months, which is
1,260 days (Rev. 13:4) and will be destroyed by Jesus at His second coming
(Rev. 19:20, 2 Thess. 2:8). The known
and unknown days must happen at different times, meaning they are two
Proof #5: A door open
in heaven (Revelation 4:1)
door in heaven is opened to let John into heaven. We believe John's call into heaven is prophetic of the church
being caught up at the rapture (see proof #6). In Revelation 19:11, heaven is opened again, this time to let
the armies which are already in heaven out.
This is the Church, which has been raptured at a previous time,
following Jesus out of heaven at the second coming.
Proof #6: "Come up
here." (Revelation 4:1)
voice called for the apostle John to "Come up here," and
immediately he was in heaven. This
could be a prophetic reference to the rapture of the Church. The words "Come up here" are
spoken to the two witnesses who are killed in the middle of the Tribulation,
who are resurrected and ascend into heaven (Rev. 11:12). Therefore, the phrase "Come up here"
could mean the church is raptured in Rev. 4:1. The word "church" is mentioned 22 times in Rev. 1-3,
but is not mentioned again until Rev. 22:17.
Proof #7: The 24 elders
have their crowns.
John is called up into heaven, he sees the 24 elders with their crowns (Rev.
4:4-10). We know that Christians will
receive their rewards (crowns) at the rapture (2 Tim. 4:8, 1 Pet. 5:4). We will be repaid at the resurrection of
the righteous (Luke 14:14). The
elders couldn't receive their crowns unless the resurrection (rapture) has
Proof #8 Holy ones are
already with Jesus in heaven (Zech. 14:5, Rev. 19:14)
armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, follow Jesus out of heaven at His
second coming (Rev. 19:14, Zech. 14:5, Col. 3:4). These are not angels because Rev. 19:8 tells us the fine linen
is the righteousness of the saints.
In order to come out of heaven we first have to go in, indicating a
Proof #9: Kept from the
hour of testing (Rev. 3:10)
3:10 says we will be kept out of the hour of testing which will come upon the
whole earth (the Tribulation). Some
have wrongly believed "keep" means to keep through, or protect
through the Tribulation. Suppose you
approach a high voltage area with a sign that says, "Keep
Out." Does that mean you can
enter and be protected? No, it means
you are forbidden from entering the area.
But this verse also says He will keep us from the hour of
testing. It is not just the testing,
but the time period. If a student is
excused from a test, he still may have to sit in the class while others take
the test. But if he is excused from
the hour of testing, he can go home.
The Church will be called home before the hour of testing.
Proof #10: Angels don't
resurrect people when they gather them for judgment.
the angels are sent forth to gather the elect at the second coming (Matt.
24:29-31), some have wrongly interpreted this as the rapture. There is one huge problem with this
interpretation. If we are resurrected
at this time, why would we need angels to gather us? In the resurrection, we will be like the
angels (Matt. 22:30), able to travel in the air at will. Obviously, these people who are gathered
are not resurrected, therefore it can't be the rapture. No one would claim the wicked are raptured
at this time, yet Matthew 13:39-41, 49 says the angels will not only gather
the elect, but also the wicked. This
gathering is not a resurrection.
Proof #11: Both wicked
and righteous both can't be taken first.
Thessalonians 4:13-17 says the righteous are taken and the wicked are left
behind. Matthew 13:30, 49 says the wicked are taken first and righteous are
left behind. This points to two
separate events, the rapture and the second coming.
Proof #12: Jesus
returns from the wedding.
Jesus returns to earth at the second coming, He will return from a
wedding (Luke 12:36). At the rapture,
Jesus is married to His bride, the Church.
After the wedding, He will return to earth.
Proof #13: Jesus will
receive us to Himself, not us to receive Him (John 14:2-3).
said He would prepare a place for the Church in heaven, then He would come
again to receive us to Himself. Why
would Jesus prepare a place for us in heaven and then not take us there? At the rapture, He will come to receive us
to Himself, "that where I am (heaven), there you may be also." If the rapture occurred at the same time
as the second coming, we would go up to the clouds and then immediately come
back to earth. That would contradict
Proof #14: The one who
restrains is taken out of the way.
2 Thess. 2:6-7, Paul says "the one who restrains will be taken out of
the way" before the Antichrist can be revealed. We believe this refers to the rapture
because the Church is clearly the biggest obstacle to the Antichrist becoming
a world ruler.
Proof #15: The
separation of the sheep and goats (Matt. 25:31-46)
the rapture occurred at the second coming, why would the sheep and the goats
need to be separated immediately after the second coming? A rapture at the second coming would have
already separated the sheep and the goats.
With a Pre-Tribulation rapture, the people saved after the rapture
will need to be separated after the second coming.
Proof #16: Who will
populate the Millennium?
the rapture occurs at the second coming and the wicked are cast into hell at
that time, who will be left to populate the millennium? Only people in their natural
(non-resurrected) bodies will be able to have children (Matt. 22:30). With a Pre-Tribulation rapture, the people
saved after the rapture who are alive at the second coming will populate the
earth during the Millennium (See "Who will populate the
millennium?" Bible Study).