The Rapture - Is it in the Bible?

by Mark Lawrence, SecretsofSurvival.com While the majority of Christians believe in the 'Rapture', there are quite a few die-hards who are adamant that it is not in the Bible.

They tell me that I'm perpetuating a dangerous lie that is going to cause many Christians to fall away from the faith when it doesn't happen; However, I believe otherwise. I read the Bible. I study Scripture. I've read commentary books by other authors – and don't always agree with their views. I've purposely sought out strong arguments that are against the rapture, because my interest is only in TRUTH – and those arguments against a rapture don't hold up under close reading.

In studying the Bible, I believe that there will not be a pre-tribulation rapture -- but there will be an early tribulation rapture. In other words, the faithful church is likely to see the beginning of the Tribulation (called the 'Time of Wrath' in the Book of Daniel and the 'beginning of sorrows' in Matthew 24).


This article is a wake up call for all Christians. By citing Scripture, I am going to show that there is definitely a rapture. However, there's a catch:

Most Christians are not going to be in the rapture.

They are going to be 'left behind' for the Tribulation / Time of Wrath and reign of the Anti-Christ and the infamous 'mark of the beast'.

Before we go any further, please grab a Bible and turn to Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation.

Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation are 7 short letters to the 7 early churches, written by the Apostle John as directed by Jesus Christ.

By the time you've finished reading these letters it is quite clear –

God is not pleased with most Christians. In fact he warns Christians that if they're 'lukewarm', he is going to 'spit' them out of his mouth (Rev. 3:16).

Because most Christians, according to Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, have half-hearted faith - they have not put God first in their lives and do not love God with all their heart, mind, and soul. Many still live lives of sexual immorality and many others do not follow the full teachings of the Bible and have turned to false teachers (for example, I believe Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, is one of these false teachers).

The movie 'Left Behind' gives the impression of most if not all Christians 'disappearing' in a pre-tribulation rapture.

The Bible however is clear that's not going to be the case.

Most "Christians" are going to be left behind.

The rapture is only for the Christians ("true" Christians") who have turned from sin in repentance, and have been lead in the process of sanctification by the Holy Spirit (which is given to them when they become truly born again in Jesus Christ). These believers have endured trials and testing and having OVERCOME THE WORLD, now present themselves as a Holy and Blameless church (Ephesians 5, Revelation 3:10).

These are the believers who have a faith that Jesus Christ describes in Matthew 7:24-27 as being "built on a rock". Because they Love God -- and because they Fear God's wrath on his enemies and believers who backslide (Jeremiah 3) -- these believers seek with all their heart to obey God's commands and love and forgive others -- which all believers are called to. These believers heed Christ's exhortation on the parable of the sheep and the goats.

These believers recognize that the God of the Old Testament is the still the same in the New Testament. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In other words, these believers take the Bible seriously, and truly treasure the teachings of Jesus Christ, and truly appreciate the great gift of forgiveness and eternal life he offers to all who will repent, and turn from their sin, and put their faith in him.


Ok, let's now address the claims made by those who do not believe in an early tribulation rapture

Claim 1: In the last two hundred years, John Darby, Margaret Mcdonald and somebody named Scholfield invented the idea of 'the rapture'.

Reply: There's no question that a rapture will occur, no matter what critics say (some like to say the concept of the rapture is only recent). The word 'rapture' may be recent, but the event (as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, and in Daniel 12:2,3) has always been in the Bible.

1 Corinthians 15:51-54 - Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

Proof: We have clear proof of a rapture (it occurs at the same time as the resurrection).

Now let's look at Daniel 12:

Dan. 12:1-3 - At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book – will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Proof: We have clear proof of a rapture (it occurs at the same time as the resurrection).

Now look at 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18:

1 Thess: 4:15-18 - According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Proof: We have clear proof of a rapture (it occurs at the same time as the resurrection).

So, the next time someone tries saying that someone named John Darby, Margaret Mcdonald, or Scholfield dreamed up the rapture in the last two hundred years, show them 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, and Daniel 12:1-3.

This event has always been in the Bible.

So what happens to people who are 'raptured'? They go to God's kingdom in heaven. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:18-19 - I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus also said...

John 14:1-3 - "Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also."

With these well known passages by Jesus, we have proof that God has prepared a new world for his faithful believers (kingdom of heaven) and that Jesus is going to come back and take us there.

There is only one way for believers to go there – they have to be taken there.

At this point, there should be no question that there is a 'rapture' and that the 'kingdom of heaven' is waiting for faithful believers.

The only question that's left is: When?

When are faithful believers taken to God's kingdom?

Are they taken early in the Tribulation / Time of Wrath?

Or late in the Tribulation / Time of Wrath?



What did Jesus say about the rapture?

Jesus gave two different descriptions for his coming for believers. Both descriptions are clearly different from each other. Those who do not believe in a early tribulation rapture, say that these descriptions both describe a post-tribulation rapture.

But is that really the case? Look closely:


First description of Christ's coming for his believers:

Matthew 24:29-31 - Immediately after the distress of those days
" 'the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

This clearly describes Christ coming for his believers, whom he calls the 'elect', at the end of the Tribulation / Time of Wrath. This is the post-tribulation rapture.

The purpose of the Tribulation / Time of Wrath is to bring God's un-repentant people (un-faithful Christians) to repentance and full love and faith in God.

Revelation 7:14-17 - "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
"they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."



Second description of Christ's coming for his believers:

Matthew 24:37-42 - As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

This clearly describes Jesus coming for believers at a time either before or early in the Tribulation.

Luke adds even more evidence:

Luke 17:28-35 - It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.

If Jesus says in Matthew 24:37-42 that he will come at a time 'as it was in the days of Noah', when people are eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage (basically, life as usual), that means he is going to come 'as it was in the days of Noah'.

Much of the world will be living life as usual when sudden destruction hits - 'as it was in the days of Noah'.

And as it was for Lot at the time he fled Sodom, when God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was life as usual for a society drenched in sin, that turned their backs on God and refused to follow him or his commandments.

Lot was holy and righteous and he was delivered. Noah was holy and righteous and he was delivered.

In Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, the entire Philadelphia Church and a number of people from the Sardis and Smyrna churches are also promised to be delivered. Please note that each letter to each church in Revelation ends with: Anyone with an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

This means that those same promises to the 7 early churches also apply to us (the fact that this is included in Revelation gives these promises even more credibility). If we endure and overcome sin, and if we have full love and faith in God and his commandments, we are going to be spared 'the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth.' (Rev. 3:10)

We are going to be taken to the kingdom of heaven before sudden destruction hits, as promised by the apostle Paul:

1 Thess. 1:5-9 - The Day of the Lord will come just as a thief in the night. When they say 'peace and security', then sudden destruction hits. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief... For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, Paul says that "sudden destruction" will come at a time they say "peace and security".

And Jesus says he will come as it was in the days of Noah, which was a time of "peace and security". Also add, drinking and festivity to this, if people are marrying and giving in marriage.

Please note that the world in Noah's day was drenched in sin, sexual immorality, and had turned to false gods – much like today.

"...they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."

Now, God did not appoint Noah or his family to wrath, and they were delivered.

And God did not appoint Lot or his family to wrath, and they were also delivered (of course his wife did not make out so well).

God has not appointed his faithful church to wrath, and they (we) will also be delivered.

1 Thess. 1:9 - For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.


God's wrath falls on the 'disobedient'

So, who is appointed to wrath? Paul says it falls on the 'disobedient', which would mean everyone but faithful Christians.

Ephesians 5:5-8 - For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Look closely at this analogy Paul gives of the love between a husband and wife and how it relates to Christ and his church:

Ephesians 5:25-32 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.

Paul is clear that there is an important relationship between Christ and his church, and that Christ 'gave himself up for her to make her holy', and 'to present her to himself as a radiant church'.


The Church is not 'required' to suffer God's wrath

Those who believe that the rapture will not occur until after God's wrath on the nations (the Tribulation / Time of Wrath) say that we are supposed to suffer persecutions and trials, and that all faithful Christians (the church) must go through this.

What they don't realize is that Christians have been suffering persecution and trials since the time of Jesus; some of course have experienced worse persecution and trials than others.

The Scripture I cite below in red is clear proof of that.

2 Thessalonians 1:3-12 - We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

1 Peter 1:6-7 - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

My reply: Living in the real world, we all experience life's trials and tribulations, the ups and downs, etc. There are those who believe that because Christ suffered, we all have to suffer. But doesn't that defeat the purpose of Christ's death on the cross? He took the penalty for our sins. Now, some of us may suffer more trials than others, but that's just life. The Bible doesn't say that God makes it a requirement for all Christians to go through the Tribulation / Time of Wrath – we're not joining a street gang.

The purpose of the Tribulation is to bring God's un-repentant people to full repentance and full love and faith in Christ – it is not to toughen up the church, which will not be here, as promised in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation.

Before 'sudden destruction' hits, the church is out of here.

James 1:12 - Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.


4/8/2008 UPDATE: Early-Tribulation vs. Pre-Tribulation Rapture

For the record, I don't believe in a pre-tribulation rapture (though one time I did).

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, I believe in an early tribulation rapture.

In consideration of how the Seals of Revelation are laid out in Chapter 6 of Revelation, and believing that there are going to be a lot of tragic events building up to the opening of the Fourth Seal (when a quarter of the world's population is killed), I hope that many people will re-think their idea of a pre-tribulation rapture.

My official belief is that the rapture of the church will occur as the Fourth Seal of Revelation is opened, but that the church is going to see the beginning of the Tribulation, in the opening of the first three seals.

During this time we may be see a number of non-nuclear terrorist attacks on the West and a number of mass-killings.

However, the moment these attacks turn nuclear, that is when I believe the rapture will take place. As described in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-9, before sudden destruction occurs (or, as sudden destruction occurs), that's when I believe the church will be taken to Heaven.



God's wrath on the nations will soon come on to the world

In Bible prophecy, the rapture of the church is the next thing that's going to happen.

In studying the Bible, I believe that the rapture of the church will occur as one or more U.S. cities is attacked with a nuclear weapon. You know that 'spectacular attack' that Al Qaida is planning? You know that 'gut feeling' that Michael Chertoff has of an imminent terrorist attack – it may be one or more nuclear detonations.

The Rapture - Is Christ's Return Imminent?

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