Please take note that I am stepping away from how I would normally start an article with an portion of Scripture as my basis text.
My reason is this, I am not an authoritive on this subject, for this subject has three sides that can be taken. Each argument can in some form be taken from portions of Scripture to support the theory, yet, other Scripture would seem to argue against each theory of the rapture. So, I can only encourage each student of Biblical prophecy to diligently search the Scripture and form your own conclusion.
The Three Theories
- Pre – Tribulation
- Mid – Triblulation
- Post Tribulation
If I could take you in a time machine to my younger self you would here me expound on the first theory of the rapture, pre-tribulation. This thought is one most evangelicals teach and hold fast to that the Body of Christ will be raptured before the tribulation written in the Book of Revelation.
Here is the anchor for their thesis:
1 Thessalonians 4: KJV
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
I would then take you to the first verse of Revelation 4:1
Revelation 4:1 KJV
1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
Those who stand on this train of thought also will use this portion of Scripture and declare that the Body of Christ will escape all the wrath of God.
Luke 21:36 KJV
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
This was my younger self when teaching on the subject of the rapture.
The debate about the rapture can be quite heated in argument, pastor against pastor, church congregations split over the subject on when it will take place.
As a guest speaker in another pastor’s pulpit I would never try to expound on the rapture.
In past articles I have taught that a thought must be from Genesis to Revelation.
The rapture is a topic that is scarce in Scripture. In the Old Testament there are only two times that I would suggest could be types of the rapture are Enoch and Elijah.
Genesis 5:24 KJV
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
2 Kings 2:1-13 KJV
1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.
3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.
5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.
8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
In the New Testament we have only one account and that is the catching away of Christ on the Mount.
Acts 1:6-11 KJV
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
When as a pastor it would take me weeks if not months to go in depth on the subject of the rapture.
So, I will take several articles to give outlines of each side of each argument that is presented on the subject of the rapture.
However, the Body of Christ has caused much anxiety over the rapture and where it happens in the timeline of End – Time Prophecy. It is my personal belief that we need to return to what matters the most, that is just having our garments washed and ready without wrinkle.
Ephesians 5:27 KJV
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Here is one of the keys that help me unlock some of the timeline of End – Time Prophecy.
Every bride is a women, but, every women is not a bride.
In understanding Bible prophecy one must understand these two principles:
- The Church is the Bride of Christ
- In End – Time Prophecy the woman speaks of the nation of Israel.
In the Old Testament there are no Scriptures that speak to the Body of Christ and the Church. All End – Time Prophecy speaks to the judgment of God and the nation of Israel.
The Body of Christ and the Church was birthed after Christ ascended into heaven as stated in the above portion of Scripture in Acts 1.
The terms “The Body of Christ(The Church)” and “Israel” are not interchangeable.
In my personal beliefs I have presented some of the keys to understanding End – Time Prophecy and also the argument presented by those who hold fast to the rapture happening before the tribulation.
I would encourage Bible Students to take and take a deep study on all the sides that people argue when speaking about the rapture and it’s timeline.
Let me finish like I started, I have given you the first argument, “pre-tribulation” theory. I use to be adamant when discussing this subject.
In the next article I will try to expound on the theory of “mid-tribulation” rapture.
For some you have already taken a stand and have planted your feet on how you belief about the rapture, so, I am not trying to sway you otherwise. For everyone else, please, study each side of this subject then seek the face of God before you decide on your interpretation of the Scripture on the rapture.