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The timing of the rapture in relation to the tribulation is one of the most controversial issues in the church today. The three primary views are pre-tribulational (the rapture occurs before the tr...
Despite the popularity of the pre trib rapture theory, in my studies of this topic I had to conclude that the Bible does not teach a pre tribulation rapture. Referring to 1 Thessalonians 5:9, the term 'wrath' is contrasted with 'salvation' in the second half of the verse, which most likely means eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ versus eternal wrath, and does not give evidence for a pre tribulation rapture. Neither does 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 17 provide us with any indication of the timing of the rapture, only that it will take place after the translation of the souls who have already died in Christ. The wrath of God in the tribulation period does not occur until the bowl judgments, Revelation 15:7: "Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever" and in Rev. 16:1 : Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth." This indicates quite clearly that God's wrath is not poured out until the bowl judgments, towards the end of the tribulation period. If we study the Old Testament judgments of God, we see that He poured out His wrath the same day that His people were removed: Genesis 7 verses 11 - 13 teach us that 'on that day all the fountains of the deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.... and v. 13 begins: On the very same day Noah and Noah's sons...and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark - they and every beast.." in fact God's wrath began the day that Noah, his family and the animals entered the ark. Likewise, in Genesis ch. 19 verses 22 - 24 the same day that Lot fled Sodom and arrived in Zoar, v.24 reads "Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah..". Again, the very day that God's people were removed, God sent judgment. We see the same pattern in Exodus 14 v.13 when God opened the Red Sea as the Egyptians were bearing down on the Israelites in the desert. "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever." Verse 30 : So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians dead on the seashore. " Also,in the book of Joshua chapter 6 as the city of Jericho was being destroyed and Joshua's army were taking the city, the spies whom Rahab the harlot hid, went in and brought out Rahab and her family, as the city was being destroyed. These four events describing God's judgment and His rescue of His people immediately before or during the pouring out of His judgment, show us a pattern that should be considered by scholars but isn't. It's neglected. Finally, I believe the origin of the pre-tribulation rapture idea had to do with a mere vision of a 14 year old girl within the Plymouth Brethren in England around 1840. A fine and well respected theologian named Darby promoted it and its credibility was furthered by Scofield's Bible. In fact, it's nothing more than wishful thinking. It endures not because of careful scholarship, but because of repetition: critical examination has been neglected. The usual verses such as those from Thessalonians previously cited, are always touted as proof. Each new generation of seminarians and theologians dutifully accept them as such, without carefully studying their true meanings in context! Most astonishingly, verses 24 - 27 of Mark chapter 13 specifically say "after" that tribulation.... and THEN they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds,..... and v. 27 THEN He will send His angels and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven. " The words 'after' and 'then' are chronologically specific, yet these verses are ignored. Christians will suffer and I pray we will be ready to endure.
The Bible speaks of Christ's Second Coming eight times more often than of His first coming. The New Testament alone speaks of it 318 times. One of the commonest words of greeting used by the early Christians was "Maranatha!" (1 Cor 16:22). It is an Aramaic word which means, "The Lord is coming!" Yes the early believers lived with the jubilant expectation of the Return of their Lord. While almost all the Christians believe in the Second Coming of Christ, they are widely divided on the timing and nature of His Return. There are broadly three schools of though as follows: ►One group believes that there will be Rapture. That is, the Church will be caught up when Christ appears in the mid-air. It will be immediately followed by the Great Tribulation of seven years. At the end of this period Christ will return publicly to the earth and establish His one thousand year reign which will be followed by eternity. ► The second group maintains a mid-tribulational view which means that Christ will come after a three-and-a-half-year period of tribulation. ► The third view is post-tribulational which says that the Church will go through the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ will be only after that. Each group can quote a few Scripture verses to support its view. I personally believe in the pretribulational and premillennial Return of Christ. This viewpoint has been held by most of the evangelical scholars and Bible teachers of repute. We are now in the Church Age. This will be terminated suddenly when Christ will appear FOR the saints in the mid-air. "The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thess 4:13-18). This is what we call the Rapture of the Church. This is our most "blessed hope!" (Tit 2:13). Then the world goes through the Great Tribulation under the rule of Antichrist. This seven year period is "the day of God's wrath." At its end Christ will return WITH the saints to the earth to establish His millennial Kingdom here (2 Thess 2:1-8; Rev 20:1-6). Then will follow eternity (Rev 21,22). The Church will not go through the Great Tribulation because "God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess 5:9; 1 Thess 1:10). The Church will be kept away from "the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world" (Rev 3:10). Some argue that the Lord will purify the Church through the Great Tribulation. I wonder why God should be interested in purifying only the last generation of Christians this way! Poor fellows!
Paul addresses this very question in 2 Thess. 2:1-8, but Paul describes the relationship of the Rapture with respect to the Day of the Lord, not the Tribulation. However, several key points can determine the relationship of the Day of the Lord to the Tribulation, and thereby tell you the relationship of the Rapture to the Tribulation. What I hope to show is this: That all of God’s Wrath occurs in a period of time, lasting 2.8 years, occurring after the Tribulation. It is the Day of the Lord. Thus, the Rapture can occur after the Tribulation, but it must occur before the Day of the Lord. Moreover, 2 Thess. 2:1-4 requires the Rapture to occur after the mid-point of the Tribulation, but Matthew 24:29-31 requires the Rapture to occur after the Tribulation, and after the 6th Seal. The Day of the Lord is heralded by the 6th Seal (Rev. 6:12-17) and described in v. 17 as “the great day of their wrath.” It officially begins with the opening of the 7th Seal (Rev. 8:1-5) honored by one half hour of silence (v. 1) and commencing with destruction when the golden censer is thrown to the ground (v. 5). We see in Joel 1:14-15 that “the Day of the Lord will come as destruction from the Almighty.” Joel 2:30-31 tells us that the Day of the Lord occurs after the 6th Seal, and Matthew 24:29 tells us the 6th Seal occurs after the Tribulation. Thus, the Day of the Lord must occur after the Tribulation. How long is it? This is determined by starting the 2300 days, in Dan. Ch. 8, from the mid-point of the Tribulation. This is derived from the ‘small horn’ (the Antichrist) magnifying himself to be equal with our Lord and removing the regular sacrifice from Him (v. 11). 2300 days is 6.3 years, leaving a period of 2.8 years beyond the Tribulation in which the Day of the Lord will occupy. In 2 Thess. 2:1-8 Paul addresses the fear that the Thessalonians had of missing the Rapture (v. 1) and now having to face God’s Wrath in the Day of the Lord (v. 2). He allays that fear by giving two events the Church can observe to know they have not missed the Rapture (v.3): The apostasy and the revealing of the Son of Destruction. You can say what you want about the apostasy, but the Son of Destruction is revealed when he takes his seat in the rebuilt Temple and proclaims to be God (v. 4). This happens at the mid-point of the Tribulation, and thereby requires the Church to be front and center at that time. Additionally, Matthew 24:29-31 could not be more direct in placing the Rapture after the Tribulation and after the 6th Seal. But that is okay. It is only a problem if you try to place the Day of the Lord somewhere inside the Tribulation, which is what the Church has been doing for the last 180 years or so. I cannot stress enough, the importance of this last point, i.e. that if you try to include any of God's Wrath within the bounds of the Tribulation, you will inevitably have to violate Scripture in order to avoid a contradiction. The Antichrist is given authority over the saints for 42 months (Rev. 13:5-7). I believe this has to be for the duration of the last half of the Tribulation, or what is commonly referred to as the Great Tribulation. It is also "the perseverance and the faith of the saints" (Rev. 13:10), but it is not God's Wrath. I believe it is when the Apostasy will occur. Think about it. A large number of Christians will fall away from the faith when asked to take the Mark of the Beast or lose your life. The perseverance of the saints goes on for 42 months, but it is cut short for the sake of the elect Matthew 24:22. There is no ethnicity for the elect. They are simply the "select - favorite: chosen, elect" - G1588 from Strong's. Neither is there any ethnicity for the saints in the Tribulation (Rev. 13:7) G40 in Strong's - consecrated, holy, saint. Thank you for the chance to express myself. I'm sure there will be questions.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory is a teaching that perverts the plain language of the text of the New Testament. Yet, some preachers today look on the doctrine as the heart and core of present Christian expectations in regard to prophetic truth for the near future! Many believe this false teaching is the principle hope of the Body of Christ for their redemption and safety during the Great Tribulation. First understand that the word “Rapture” is not found in the King James translation. There is also no single word used by biblical authors to describe the prophetic factors that comprise the doctrine. Its formulation came about by means of inductive reasoning. Certain biblical passages concerning the Second Coming, and the role Christians will play in that event, were blended together inductively to establish the teaching. It may come as a surprise but the doctrine of the Rapture is not mentioned in any Christian writings, of which we have knowledge, until after the year 1830 C.E. Whether the early writers were Greek or Latin, Armenian or Coptic, Syrian or Ethiopian, English or German, orthodox or heretic, no one mentioned it before 1830 (though a sentence in Pseudo-Dionysius in about 500 C.E. could be so interpreted). Those who feel the origin of the teaching is in the Bible might say that it ceased being taught for some unknown reason at the close of the apostolic age only to reappear in 1830. But if the doctrine were so clearly stated in Scripture, it seems incredible that no one should have referred to it before the 19th century. Let's look at the origin of this teaching. Look at what happened in the year 1830 — two years before Irving’s dismissal from the Presbyterian Church. In that year a revival of the “gifts” began to be manifested among some people living in the lowlands of Scotland. They experienced what they called the outpouring of the Spirit. It was accompanied with speaking in “tongues” and other charismatic phenomena. Irving preached that these things must occur and now they were. On one particular evening, the power of the Holy Spirit was said to have rested on a Miss Margaret Macdonald while she was ill at home. She was dangerously sick and thought she was dying. In spite of this (or perhaps because she is supposed to have come under the “power” of the spirit) for several successive hours she experienced manifestations of “mingled prophecy and vision.” She found her mind in an altered state and began to experience considerable visionary activity. The message she received during this prophetic vision convinced her that Christ was going to appear in two stages at His Second Advent, and not a single occasion as most all people formerly believed. The spirit emanation revealed that Christ would first come in glory to those who look for Him and again later in a final stage when every eye would see Him. This visionary experience of Miss Macdonald represented the prime source of the modern Rapture doctrine as the historical evidence compiled by Mr. MacPherson reveals. The studies of Mr. MacPherson show that her sickness during which she received her visions and revelations occurred sometime between February 1 and April 14, 1830. By late spring and early summer of 1830, her belief in the two phases of Christ’s coming was mentioned in praise and prayer meetings in several towns of western Scotland. In these meetings some people were speaking in “tongues” and other charismatic occurrences were in evidence. Modern “Pentecostalism” had its birth. These extraordinary and strange events so attracted John Darby that he made a trip to the area to witness what was going on. Though he did not approve of the ecstatic episodes that he witnessed, it is nonetheless significant that Darby, after returning from Scotland, began to teach that Christ’s Advent would occur in two phases. This teaching may cause many to fail and fall away when they are not "raptured" before the Great Tribulation period.
I used to be a "dyed-in-the-wool" believer in the pre-tribulation rapture position. That is, until that wool was removed from being pulled over my eyes. Ok, so that was a low blow. But it is kind of true: When I finally deeply studied the subject biblically, with my own eyes and not with "study notes" at the bottom pages of some reference Bible or books of some author, I found that the "pre-trib" position is not Biblical without making all sorts of presuppositions and using circular thinking. 1 Thess 5:9; 1 Thess 4:15-18; 1 Thess 1:10; 2 Thess 1 and 2; and many other "pre-trib" proof-texts are actually mis-interpreted when you read those texts literally and naturally without the aid of the commentary of pre-trib supporting books and materials. It reminds me of the way certain Christian sects and cults, such as Jehovah's Witnesses interpret scripture: They quote a verse and give their interpretation of it. Then they support their interpretation with another verse. But then when you question that other verse they go back to the 1st verse and say that their interpretation of that verse proves their interpretation of the 1st verse. That is circular reasoning. Pre-Trib commentators do that all the time using Matthew 24 to prove their interpretation of 1 Thessalonians and vice-versa. Jesus was clear when in John 17 He prayed that his followers not be taken out of the world but protected in it. Ask yourself this: Why would Jesus rapture you away from persecution when every single one of His most beloved disciples were ALL persecuted and killed for their faith? John might be an exception but there is much evidence to say that he was tortured too. No one knows how he died, he might have been killed for his faith too. If Jesus didn't save Polycarp and a host of others from the flames of immolation or the jaws of beasts in the Colosseum, why should he take you away from persecution? If Jesus didn't save the millions of His chosen people (not just Jews but many people of Christian faith) from Hiter, Stalin, Lenin, and Mao, why should He take you away? These people were tortured, kept captive, and died horrible deaths for their faith. If Jesus is allowing whole Christian communities to suffer, die by sawing heads off, starvation & torture for their faith in Eastern Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Northern Africa, and elsewhere. Why should you be protected by being whooshed out of here? You get the point. You'll probably come back by saying "well, all these things aren't the 'Great Tribulation' spoken of in reference to the rapture." That is true. But for those who it is happening to, it is most assuredly 'Great Tribulation'. Yes, there will be a world-wide expression of persecution against Christianity in that last end-time scenario - but most of the Tribulation is not the wrath of God. It is the wrath of Satan through those who hate Christianity. God will save us from His wrath at the very end - but not before. The deceit of Satan is to convince many to "believe" and hang their hope on getting a one way ticket out of here. Then when that doesn't happen, that will be the great turning away or apostasy spoken of in Revelation. True Christians will be betrayed by those sitting in the pew next to us. I'll repeat what others have said in this series of posts: The Disciples, the Apostles, the early church, the early church fathers - all did not teach a pre-tribulation doctrine. Pre-Trib theology is not a revelation for the end of time. It is the "strong delusion" sent to lull the church to sleep. The early church did not wake up and evangelize until it was persecuted. God protected Noah, Jonah, Job, and a host of others through trial - he didn't take them away. Stephen was given strength while he stoned, not taken away from it. Most, if not all of our examples of faith, are those who suffered and persevered even through death. God will be with us too - when the time of trial comes.
It is written in John3:36 that he/she who believes in The Lord Jesus Christ has everlasting life but he/she who does not believe in Jesus Christ will not see life but shall be under the wrath of God. From Revelation chapter 6 to chapter 18 we notice that when our Lord opens the seals it would be a time of unprecedented time of peril and suffering for the people of the earth. It will be a time of judgement for all those who refuse to trust even after the testimony of two witnesses of Chapter 11 of the book of Revelation besides the preaching of the everlasting gospel by the Angel appointed for the purpose by The Lord as we read in Revelation 14:6. But we notice in the book of revelation that the people living during this time do not repent. The Holy Spirit repeatedly says the people did not repent,neither would they leave worshipping idols and demons. So a just judgement is coming on those who would knowingly remain adamant. As we understand from Scriptures The Lord took away Enoch before the flood came but preserved Noah & his family --which looks like Israel and tribulation saints salvation or preservation without any harm during tribulation. Further we notice that Lot was forcibly removed before The Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). The Lord also differentiated between the the Egyptians and the children of Israel when He judged the Egyptians. Thus is is reasonable to accept that The Lord will not allow His Church which He has purchased in His own Blood to suffer the same wrath as the rest of the world are going to receive during tribulation. Now whether He would do this by way of Rapture or some other means? Well the word rapture is not found in the Bible. But as per 1Thess 4:17 we who are alive are going to be caught up as Enoch was Genesis 5:24 read with Hebrews 11:5. As I strongly believe The Lord will take us away before He pours out His wrath upon the ungodly as The Lord Jesus has already drank the cup of wrath of God on our behalf on the cross. Therefore if you have trusted in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ do not worry because He knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations 2Peters2:9, For me the pre tribulation rapture appears most probable for The Church of God before our Lord opens the seven seals of the Book Revelation Chapter 6 and onwards. Believe in the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. So do not worry. For every temptation The Lord in His faithfulness has kept a way to escape. Please read 1 Corinthians 10:13. Our faith should rest on the Word of God /Christ not on theological debates.
There is also the references of what happens at the second coming, namely the death of the wicked. Revelation 19:20 states" And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." If you read the chapter you will know that it is Jesus coming for his church, then the beginning of the next chapter starts the millennium. In chapter 20:4 of revelation there is a specific reference to those who did not worship the beast and his image, how could you choose not to worship the beast and his image if you were not around for it. 2 thess 2:8 also speaks of that wicked being destroyed by the brightness of his coming. With what Peter says in 2 peter 3:10 clarifies what happens when Jesus comes. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." So tell me how does anyone survive that.? They don't. The wicked are killed at the second coming. If you do your homework you will find that the pre trib rapture was created and spread to Protestant churches by none other than the Jesuits. As to the reference of the prophecy in Daniel no where does it say that the one week is off in the distant future. That is purely fictional, there is 0 scriptural evidence to back it up. Look at what Gabriel says to Daniel is in reference to the time period from the previous chapter in Daniel 8:13,14. At the end of Daniel 8:27 he says "And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it" so Daniel didn't understand that vision so he is praying and God sends Gabriel to explain, verse 22 of Daniel chapter 9 confirms this. Moving on to the 70 week prophecy Gabriel hen says in verse 24 "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." That word translated determined means to cut out. What was the seventy week timeframe cut out of? Since Gabriel came to give him skill and understanding from the vision from the previous chapter it has to be out of the only time based thing in the vision It could be possibly cut out of the 2300 days. From 457 bc (the time of the decree) until the baptism of Jesus in 27 ad is exactly 483 years. In the middle of the week he cause he cause the sacrifices and oblations to cease and right on time int the middle of the week in 31 ad Jesus dies and causes the sacrificial system to cease. The disciples were then told to bring the message to only Israel until 34 ad at the stoning of Stephen after that Paul was converted and the Gospel was sent to the Gentiles. Israel no longer was God's chosen people to evangelize the world that went to to church. That was the 490 years that were cut out for Israel. And one other thing who was the only person to make a covenant with man? That tells you that only the maker of the covenant can confirm the covenant.
If we can believe what Jesus said, the Gathering Together (aka, the rapture) will occur immediately AFTER the great tribulation. He stated that fact in Matt 23, Luke 13, and Luke 21. I marvel at how there are other views on this subject when Jesus Himself gave us the answer, All views on the Rapture must line up with what Jesus said and not be mixed with our carnal logic.
The devil knows that Jesus is coming back, that his time is short (Rev 12:12) and is trying to confuse and deceive as many as possible (Mat 24:23, 24, Matt 24:26, 27). The Bible is very clear that when Jesus comes back, His feet never touch the ground and the righteous will be caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thes 4:17). Will there be a rapture? Yes. Will it be a secret? NO! Rapture means "to be carried away with power," and when Jesus comes the dead in Christ will rise and together with the living righteous will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thes 4:15-17). Please note verse 15: “…that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord…” Christians will remain on earth till the end; they will not suddenly disappear while life on earth will continue for a seven-year of tribulation; there is no scriptural support for this doctrine. In his prophecy about the end of the age, Jeremiah tells that after the resurrected and living righteous will be taken to heaven, the earth will be void and empty (Jere 4:23-26, 25:33). The idea that the righteous will all be raptured out of the world just before the time of trouble and that only the wicked will be left behind to endure seven years of tribulation can be very appealing, but the Bible clearly teaches otherwise. Jesus did say that a terrible time of trouble would come upon the world just before His return and that it would be more intense than any other in the history of this world (Mat 24:21, 22). If the elect were not in the world during the great tribulation, they would not need the days to be shortened! And there are many examples of the Lord saving His people through tribulation, not from it: Noah was not saved from the Flood, but through it. Daniel was not saved from the lions' den, but through it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not were not saved from the fiery furnace, but through it. In fact, Jesus went through it with them, and He will go through the great tribulation with us, as well! Israel was not saved from Egypt before the plagues fell, but afterward. Furthermore, in John 17:15, 2 Timothy 3:12, Matthew 7:24-27 or Acts 14:22 we read that God’s people will suffer persecution and time of trouble. In His parable of the two home builders, Jesus tells that the storm comes to the wise man who builds on the rock just as it comes to the fool who builds on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). The storm comes to all and all will be tested (Rev 2:10).
I find it interesting that there are those that suggest that because the word "Rapture" doesn't appear in the Bible, then it can't be true! The word "Trinity" doesn't appear in the Bible either. I love where we read in Acts 1:9-11, "Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven". So when Jesus returns the next time (at the Rapture) He won't be riding a white horse, as described in Revelation 19:11-16, because we are told that He "will so come in a like manner as you saw Him go into Heaven". When Jesus left the earth as described in Acts1:11, He wasn't on a horse leaving, so He won't be on a horse returning, until Revelation 19. So Acts 1:11 describes the Rapture of the Church. Let us look at Revelation 19:7,8 "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints". Now let's read versus 11 to 15:"Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule then with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God". So we see here that the Church, as part of the armies of heaven, are returning with our Wonderful Saviour The Lord Jesus Christ at the end of the tribulation, with Him executing judgement on the nations. You see, the Church is already in Heaven with Christ with their glorified bodies, ready to go with Him on their own white horses as he descends to earth to judge, and set up His Millenial Kingdom. The "snatching away" or being "caught up", (the Greek word "harpazo", as mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:17) occurs just prior to the commencement of the Tribulation. We know this because 2 Thessalonians 2:7,8 says "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming". The one who now restrains is the Holy Spirit, working through the believers, ie the Church. The lawless one is the antichrist. The Church will be removed from the earth prior to the Tribulation, also known as Jacobs Trouble, Jer. 30:7. The 7 years Tribulation is where God deals with Israel, not the Church, hence the term "Jacobs Trouble". The temple is to be rebuilt, and we also see the witness of the 144,000 Jews. Revelation chapters 4-18 makes no mention of the Church, that is because the Church has been taken. (See Revelation 4:1, "a door standing open in heaven"). Space does not permit further discussion here, but I would suggest you look up The Rapture, Chuck Missler, on YouTube, for more information.
A lot of comments are focused on what the wrath of God is and when it will occur. Let's see what scripture says. In Rev 15:1 - seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. In Rev 16:2 harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshipped its image. From these two verses it is clear that the seven bowls END the wrath of God. When this is finished Christ comes as judge and king. It is also clear these judgements occur during the reign of Anti-Christ which is during the Great tribulation (the last 3 1/2 years of the 7 year tribulation). But when did the wrath of God begin. In Rev 8:13 an eagle cries in a loud voice "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow. In Rev 9: 1-11 The Fifth trumpet then releases millions of demons from the bottomless pit to torment those people who do not have the mark of God on their foreheads for a period of 5 months. In Rev 9:12-21 The Sixth trumpet has the four angels releasing 200 million horsemen who kill a third of mankind with their plagues. In Rev 11:15 the Seventh trumpet is sounded and what follows is the Seven Bowl judgements of Revelation 15 and 16. The word "Woe" is commonly referred throughout scripture to announcing God's judgement and wrath. I believe the wrath of God began with the 5th trumpet call. During the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation God provided many powerful witnesses to his gospel message. In Rev 11 the two witnesses preached the gospel for 1,260 days until they were killed by anti-christ and then resurrected and taken up to heaven. All of this happened during the 5th trumpet. In Rev 7 God sealed 144,000 witnesses to proclaim the gospel throughout the world. By the end of the great tribulation they had all been martyred. In Rev 14:6-7 we read of an angel proclaiming the eternal gospel to every nation, tribe, language and people. God no longer needed the church to be present as his witness during this time. In Rev 12 we read of a war in heaven. Satan and his demons warring against Michael and his angels. Satan and his demons are defeated and thrown down to the earth. He comes down in great wrath because he knows his time is short. Immediately thereafter he raises up the Beast of the anti-Christ and possesses him to rule their earth for the remaining 3 1/2 years. Why did this war happen? In my view, it happened when Satan saw Jesus arrive and begin the reap of his harvest, rapturing the church back to heaven with him (as Jesus said, one person stayed and one person left). I believe this war was trying to stop the believers from ascending to receive their new glorious bodies and join Jesus's army of heaven. This would place this war and the rapture sometime during the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation and before the mid-point when the anti-christ is revealed. Christians have suffered from the wrath of Satan and the wrath of an unbelieving world since the fall. Many Christians stood their ground, suffered horribly and were martyred for their faith. I my view, it is naive and fantasy to think the church of Jesus Christ would not suffer the wrath of this world during these last days. I agree with the position that we are not destined to suffer the wrath of God. But in my view, that wrath does not start until the fifth trumpet has sounded, which is well into the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation.
When one sees how God rescued righteous believers in the past then one can get some idea how He will act in the future. For example He rescued 1. Noah and his family from the worldwide flood. 2. Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Christians are holding back the forces of evil on this planet through their prayers and other activities opposing unfair laws like abortion, euthanasia, teaching gender fluidity to our young etc. Christians are also actively helping the less fortunate in our society such as the poor. Once Christians are removed in the rapture then there will be nothing holding back the forces of evil on earth. For these reasons I feel we will be raptured shortly before the tribulation begin ie pre-tribulation.
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