Some may not know what the rapture is. The word rapture is not in the english Bible. (Though the word is found in the latin translation of the Bible.) But the term rapture refers to the "catching away" of the believers in Christ, up to heaven. Here are some scriptures on the rapture:
1 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Thess 4:
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.
There are 3 main views of when the rapture is going to take place (though there are many others which are not as prominent). One is at the beginning of the tribulation, another is at the middle of the tribulation, and the third is at the end of the tribulation.
I would dare say, because of the popular Left Behind series, more christians believe in the pre-trib rapture (before the tribulation). Many who don't believe in the pre-trib rapture, think that the pre-trib rapture is a new idea, started in the 1800's. However this is not true.
The Reverend Morgan Edwards was a Baptist pastor in Philadelphia who described a Pre-Trib return of Christ for His church in his 1788 book "Millennium, Last days Novelties". Although he saw only a 3 1/2 year Tribulation, he DEFINITELY saw the rapture occur before the Tribulation. What is even more interesting is that he claimed he had preached and written the same thing as early as 1742.
There is an apocalyptic sermon designated as written Pseudo-Ephraim, believed to be written by Ephraim of Nisibis (AD 306-373), a prolific Syrian church father. Some suggest it may not have been written until AD 565-627. It goes as:
"Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare
ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from
the confusion, which overwhelms the world?...All the saints and the elect of
God are gathering together before the tribulation, which is to come and are
taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion
which overwhelms the world because of our sins."
Historical evidence that the pre-trib rapture is NOT new (check out these links):
Examining an Ancient Pre-Trib Rapture Statement
Examining an Ancient Pre-Trib Rapture Statement - a different website than the above link
Why Do Some Teach that the Church will Endure the Tribulation?
The Shout Heard Around the World Overview of the Rapture
Rapture: Three Fascinating Discoveries!
PROOFS OF THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE
While I maintain that the pre-trib is not a new teaching, it did lack significant following through the centuries. I also stand on the belief that the church went through the dark ages and many truths were lost. Including that we are saved by grace and not by works, rediscovered by Martin Luther. Are we going to say Luther invented this teaching? No we are not. But for many years even centuries, the doctrine of salvation by grace may have been almost lost. But are we to even conclude that a doctrine isn't true because the church did not lay ahold of a doctrine until modern times?
I expounded on this on a blog post of mine here:
A Major Source of Division – How to understand scripture
For a long time the people did not know salvation is by grace, and were taught it was by works. While scripture speaks on this matter, it isn’t as obvious as satan’s defeat. Or how about the number of New Testament baptisms? That’s even less obvious.
Many truths were lost in the dark ages. and we are still digging more out of the Bible. Just because we don’t know about something, or our church doesn’t recognize it doesn’t mean its not true. That is determined by scripture itself.
To base if a doctrine is true by comparing to whether the church has embraced it is very very poor. Why? Here is why:
8: Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
11: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
As long as we have the 5 fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) we have not come into full maturity.
Which brings us to a horrible defense against certain teachings. Many people oppose teaching because the church fathers were silent on a subject. That is absolutely ludicrous! No where does scripture tell us the church ever reached full knowledge. Does not the above scripture tell us we are still learning? Does not Paul tell us elsewhere we see darkly?
1 Cor 13:12: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Does he not state that there is only 1 thing he knew for certain?
1 Cor 2: LITV
2 For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and Him having been crucified.
The church lives by faith. Not certainty of doctrines all laid out centuries ago.
That faith comes from the word of God, not writings of church fathers. Or church tenets.
Lets now take a look at what the Bible says about the timing of the rapture.
Rev 3: 10: 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.
This verse shows it will happen before the hour of temptation (the tribulation). Then goes on to describe this temptation.
The word "from" in Rev 3:10 (Greek,ek) literally means "out of". Here are some other examples of OUT OF in the Bible.
15: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, OUT OF Egypt have I called my son.
5: Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote OUT OF thy brother's eye.
53: And came OUT OF the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
16: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee OUT OF my mouth.
The confusion is that many people put the rapture and the 2nd coming of Christ as 1 event. These are 2 separate events. When the rapture takes place, we will meet Christ in the air. At the 2nd coming we will come with Christ on horses to the earth. In the next 2 scriptures you can see the blessed hope of the rapture and the 2nd coming as two distinct events.
Titus 2:13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
2 Thess 2:
1: Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
God has also promised us that the church is not appointed to the wrath of God, or the Tribulation:
1 Thess 1:
10: And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The context of this passage is the rapture, for christians are not waiting for the glorious appearing. Paul tells them in 2 Thess 2:1-12 that the glorious appearing will not occur until the anti-christ is revealed. - Tim LaHaye: Revelation Unveiled; Are We Living in the End Times
1 Thess 5:
9: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
This passage follows the strongest passage on the rapture, and must be considered in light of its context... Paul takes the reader to "times and ...seasons" of the "Day of the Lord". This scripture makes it clear that God did not "appoint us to wrath" (the Tribulation) but to "obtain salvation" or deliverance from it, since so many saints will be martyred during the Tribulation. This promise cannot mean, then, that He will deliver believers DURING or THROUGH the time of the wrath. - Tim LaHaye: Revelation Unveiled; Are We Living in the End Times
Do we know that the tribulation is the Wrath?
16: And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
God is faithful to His promises. How could He mean He will deliver believers through the tribulation when we read this:
9: And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
4: ... Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
7: And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them...
I wish to point out that some would say we are fleeing spiritual warfare. The Tribulation is spiritual warfare between God and the wicked. We do not have a fight with God, if we are His people.
Isaiah 26:20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
I agree that christians are to endure trials and that Jesus prayed we are to not be taken from the earth. This speaks about the trials from man, not God. God does not test us. And Jesus' prayer was concerning salvation and our being light and salt. When the Tribulation comes, God will remove the salt (the church), seen below. He will also send 2 prophets, angels, and great signs to the earth, so the light of the church will not be necessary. Besides, salt preserves, and God wants to bring about the truth, thus removing the salt will reveal what is real and eternal and that which is false and temporary:
Gal:6:7: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
God wants mankind to reap a 100 fold return on their sowing wickedness. By removing the preserving salt, He can acomplish this task.
I also would like to say, that although I am making this teaching available, and hence making this a doctrine, I believe it is possible that there may be 2 or 3 raptures. Perhaps one in the middle of the Tribulation as well. These things are very hard to see. The Bible say's we see darkly, that's why there is so much controversy over the rapture.
1 Cor 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
I also would like to point out that we do not know when Jesus will return. Anyone who puts a date on this, whether its a day, month or year, is wrong. Jesus, Himself, does not know the day.
Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Date setters keep trying and they also keep failing - not my page (but good)
Ok, I have shown that Pre-Trib rapture is NOT new. I have shown that it is Biblical. A major question some may ask is: Who gets raptured and who gets left behind? It may very well be that only half of the church will get raptured. Are you going to be one of them? Click on the following link for details.
Are You Prepared for the 2nd Coming? - click here
I have found even more scriptural evidence that there will be 2 major comings for the church.
Math 22: MKJV
2 The kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king who made a marriage for his son.
3 And he sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they would not come.
5 But not caring, they went their ways, one to his field, another to his trading.
6 And the rest took his servants and treated them spitefully, and killed them.
7 But when the king heard, he was angry. And he sent out his armies and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
8 Then he said to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they who were invited were not worthy.
9 Therefore go into the exits of the highways, and as many as you shall find, invite them to the marriage.
10 So the servants went out into the highways and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good. And the wedding was filled with reclining guests.
11 And the king coming in to look over the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.
12 And he said to him, Friend, how did you come in here without having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then the king said to the servants, Bind him hand and foot and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We know that the wedding feast is in heaven because the King is there. And the King is NOT the groom:
verse 2: ...a certain king who made a marriage for his son.
We also see that the first ones invited did not come. This is Israel, therefore God called the gentiles. Then we see a guest not dressed properly. This is a representative of those christians who have not prepared themselves for Christ, and trying to obtain the wedding feast without being ready:
25: ... Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
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.
The key here is being washed by the Word of God. Salvation of the spirit is a free gift and is instantaneous, but the salvation of the soul is not:
James 1: RWV
21 Therefore put away all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Click here for more - The Salvation of the Soul
Some christians do not change their behavior by accepting God's Word as the Truth for our life. I discuss the difference between the Gospel of Salvation and the Gospel of the Kingdom here:
The Gospel of The Kingdom - part one
So these christians are not holy and prepared for His coming. But He will come for them later:
Luke 12: NKJV
35 "Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
Here we see the Lord returning from a wedding (verse 36), then the Lord, Himself, will be knocking on the door and they will open for Him.
Rev 3: MKJV
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me.
Jesus describes this kind of church in Rev 3:14-21:
Rev 3: MKJV
14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness...
Jesus is describing Himself to this church as the faithful and true witness, because they were not faithful and true.
15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would that you were cold or hot.
16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
This is a similar example of a scripture I use about the salt, when I teach the Gospel of the Kingdom here:
The Gospel of the Kingdom vs. The Gospel of Salvation
These christians are not pursuing after God and holiness, and God is spitting them out. They will be left in the Tribulation. And if they don't find salt during the tribulation they will be put outside the Kingdom:
Eternal Judgment: of the Believer
17 Because you say, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold purified by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be clothed, and so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear. And anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see.
Here Jesus speaks about gold purified in fire. Jesus will allow this church an opportunity to be salted with fire through the Tribulation. If the are not salted, and found holy, they will be salted by Jesus, Himself. See the Eternal Judgment link above.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; therefore be zealous and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me.
21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His throne.
Let's go back to Luke 12. In verse 36 Jesus say's they will open the door for Him. He has returned from the wedding feast. In verse 37 we see He will serve them and they will eat, very similar to Rev 3:20 also. These christians will have succeeded to be holy by the persecution from the anti-christ. Jesus will now reward them and serve them. They may have missed the wedding feast, but Jesus will feed them Himself. A great honor. These believers will have become even greater than the church that was raptured.
Math 20: MKJV
8 So when evening had come, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers and pay them their wage, beginning from the last to the first.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would received more; and they also each one received a denarius.
11 And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house,
12 saying, These last have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and heat of the day.
13 But he answered one of them and said, Friend, I do you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Take yours, and go; I will give to this last one the same as to you.
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, but few are chosen.
I suggest reading the whole parable. It is excellent. In the parable we see the idlers (those left behind), but in the end, these only worked the last "shift" and received the same wage as those "who have borne the burden and heat of the day". The hardship these last day christians will go through will be extreme. They will repent and become an even greater witness.
Hag 2:9: The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts...
I discuss more in detail, the 2 1/2 church movements who are unprepared for the 2nd Coming here:
The 2 & a Half Tribes that didn't Cross Over
The Bible says that the ministers given in Eph 4, will be until the church becomes united. The church is not united, we are divided. But the church left behind will become united even as the church was in Acts.
To learn more about this latter house, click here: Latter Rain/Reign
Back to Luke 12. In verse 38, Jesus speaks about possibly coming in the 2nd or 3rd watch. This indicates not only a 2nd rapture but perhaps a 3rd. In verses 39 & 40, Jesus again tells us, if we are ready, then the thief won't break into the house. The anti-christ is of satan, of whom is the thief. For those who are not prepared and miss the rapture, the anti-christ will pillage the church. In fact some in the church will become involved in the one world Babylonian religion. What is even more remarkable about these verses in Luke 12, is that they are the same parable in Math 24:45-51. I discuss Math 24's significance here:
Are You Prepared for the 2nd Coming?
I show that perhaps only 50% of the church will be raptured, from other verses in Math 24. But, what we see here comes after those verses. And verse 51 corresponds with Rev 2:22:
Math 24:51 And He shall cut him apart and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Rev 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
Jesus tells us in Rev 2:22 that some of the church will be thrown into the Tribulation with the world.
Let's review some of this:
We see that Math 22:1-13 shows us the wedding feast is in heaven. Luke 12:35-40 shows us that Jesus will return for the church left behind, after the wedding. Math 20:1-16 tells us those christians who persevere through the tribulation will receive equal reward, but will in some manner be given a 1st status. I am uncertain what that is, but it may be the status of ruling the earth with Christ during the millennium. The rest of the overcoming church may not rule until after New Jerusalem comes to the new earth. Or it may simply mean they are given the other rewards 1st, or are given higher places in the Kingdom government.
Here are more proofs of a Pre-trib rapture, based from the following site:
Two different pictures are painted.
In the Old Testament, there were two different pictures painted of the Messiah-one suffering (Isaiah 53:2-10, Ps. 22:6-8, 11-18) and one reigning as King (Psalms 2:6-12, Zechariah 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. In 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."
We also see 2 raptures from the beginning of history. Noah rising above the tribulation waters, as one, and Enoch being translated is another. Since history is moving backward. The 1st rapture is represented by Noah, in which God, Himself, closes the door (to heaven). The 2nd rapture being closer to the creation, thus resembling closer to the end of the ages, was Enoch. This may also symbolize the fact may christians will have been martyred, just as there was much violence in those days.
I discuss in more detail, the idea of Biblical history reversing here:
Scripture & Conspiracy
A Known Day and the Unknown Day
Concerning 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 separate events.
Holy ones are already with Jesus in heaven (Zechariah 14:5, Rev. 19:14)
The 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 previous rapture.
Jesus left in a cloud of saints, and will return with one:
Abraham's bosom or paradise was emptied when Jesus resurrected. All the Old Testament saints went to heaven with Him.
Eph 4: 8 ..."When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." 9 (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
1 Pet 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 22 who has gone into heaven...
Here we see the saints going with Him:
Acts 1:9: And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Acts 1:11: 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.
And His return with them:
Jude 1:14: And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
Both wicked and righteous both can't be taken first.
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.
Jesus will receive us to Himself, not us to receive Him (John 14:2-3).
Jesus 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 John 14:2-3.
The separation of the sheep and goats ( Matthew 25:31-46 )
If 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.
Now, to answer some basic criticism's of the Pre-trib rapture:
The Last Trumpet Argument
Because Paul, in 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thes 4:16, said believers would be raptured at the sounding of a trump, many folks have tried to make it appear that the rapture trumps are the same trumpets found in Revelation 11:15-18, Joel 2:1, and Mat 24:31--which all occur during the tribulation.
When you have trumpets commonly used throughout the Bible, I think it's foolish to just assume any two of the 62 trumps or trumpets are prophetically related. To be able to make the claim that the tribulation trumpet soundings are the same as the rapture trumps, you would need a direct statement saying this is the case.
Pre-wrath proponents say that the Seventh Trumpet blown in Rev 11:15-18 is the same last trump Paul spoke of in 1 Cor 15:52. However, they fail to take into account the fact that John wrote Revelation 40 years after Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians. How could Paul refer to something that was not yet revealed?
Post-tribbers use a trumpet sounding in Joel 2:1 as evidence for a post-trib rapture on the Day of the Lord. I have three problems with Joel 2:1:
1. Joel clearly says that the purpose for blowing the trumpet is to "sound an alarm."
2. According to 1 Cor 15:15, the rapture is something that occurs in the twinkling of an eye. Joel 2:1 says the Day of the Lord is nigh at hand. In order for Joel's trumpet to be the same one in 1 Cor. there would have to be a time delay between the sounding of the trumpet and the rapture of the Church.
3. The fact that there is another trumpet being sounded in Joel 2:15 further clouds the possibility that these trumpets could have anything to do with the rapture.
When Paul was writing to the Corinthians, he specifically said "the" last trump. During the Feast of Trumpets, the Jews blow short trumpet blasts. They end the feast with a long blast from what is called the last trump, which is blown the longest. Judaism has traditionally connected this last trump with the resurrection of the dead. Paul also made the connection. For many Christians, the association between the rapture and the Feast of Trumpets is so strong, they look for the rapture to someday occur on this feast.
The Day of the Lord Argument
A number people have attempted to refute the pre-trib rapture by trying to associate the "Day of the Lord" with a catching-up of believers at the end of the tribulation. They base their rapture views solely on the idea that the "Day of the Lord" and the rapture are either synonymous or somehow linked together.
The Achilles heel of their argument has to be the notion that the "Day of the Lord" and various other "days" of an end-time context refers to a 24 hour period that occurs at or near the end of the tribulation. Probably the most commonly cited verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:2 where Paul tells us the "Day of the Lord" will come "as a thief in the night."
I've read countless articles that describe the "Day of the Lord" as Christ's advent at Armageddon. These articles go on to say that, because Paul also tells us the Lord will come "as a thief," we have a direct link to the same description that is applied to noted rapture verses.
It's rather obvious that those trying to rely on the "Day of the Lord" never bothered to validate the meaning of this particular day. I've checked a number of commentaries on the "Day of the Lord" and many of them define this as being an all-encompassing period that begins with the Great Tribulation. Let's examine some verses that clearly indicate that the term "day" is used to represent a broader time period.
II Peter 3:10-13
The "Day of the Lord" Peter spoke of in second Peter, cannot be a one day event because it mentions the destruction of the earth by fire and its renovation. Rev 21:11 tells us the earth will not be renewed until after Christ's 1000 year reign.
The "Day of the Lord" Joel describes, includes the defeat of the northern army. Ezek. 38 and 39 is parallel passage. Most scholars would time the destruction of the Gog army as occurring before in the first half of the tribulation.
In the book of John, Jesus uses the term "last day" to indicate when the lost would be judged. Rev 20 makes it clear that the unsaved will not be judged until after the millennium--yet another 1000 year gap.
One of the best indications that most of the various “day” references are citing a general time period can be found in Hebrews 10:25: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Surely, Paul would not be warning us to watch for a day that would be coming at the end of the tribulation. That type of logic would be like warning children, as they cross the road, to watch out for tail lights.
Some folks will take a passage that describes end time events like this one in Peter...
2 Pet 3:
10: 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.
..they will say such a verse cannot be broken up into separate events or long periods of time.
Here are 2 such examples of scriptures being broken up into extended periods of time.
1: ...for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
2: A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness...
11: ... for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
28: ... that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids ... will I pour out my spirit.
30: And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Acts chapter 2 fulfilled part of THAT day, it was not ALL fulfilled.
Here is another example where a passage of scripture is thousands of years long in being fulfilled:
1: The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2: To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
In particular verse 2. Jesus read these passages and stopped halfway through verse 2 and said it was fulfilled. But not ALL of verse 2. The vengeance of our God is not yet fulfilled. Here is Jesus with all this:
17: And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19: To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20: And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21: And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
So here we have 1 verse, which was partially fulfilled 2000 years ago, but the rest has yet to be fulfilled. Jesus, Himself, stopped half way through the verse and declared it was so.
Let's also remember the Bible was not written in chapters and verses. We added verses and chapters for easier study.
The First Resurrection
I've heard some folks say, "There cannot be a pre-trib rapture because to have one would require a second resurrection at Christ's return to earth." This conclusion is drawn from Revelation 20:
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev 20:5-6).
One pre-trib writer, explaining this passage, said, "The first did not mean first in time, but rather first in kind." The first resurrection was for God's people the second will be for the unsaved.
A quick way to shoot down the notion that the first resurrection is tied to a specific date, as opposed to a more general time frame, is to take note of the tribulation rapture of the two witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. At the mid-point of the tribulation, the two witnesses are killed by the Antichrist, resurrected by God, and then caught up into heaven (Rev 11:3-12).
(Please note that Jesus was resurrected also.)
Revelation chapter 7 describes the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists just before the Beast issues his mark. Sometime during the latter half of the tribulation, Revelation chapter 14 indicates they will be "redeemed from the earth," standing before the throne of God.
No Secret Rapture
"There is no secret rapture" is the beginning declaration of a large percentage of messages that attack the rapture. Rarely is this statement backed by supporting scriptural evidence. A few people will cite Rev 1:17, "every eye shall see him," as proof that the rapture will not be a secret event. Of course, I would immediately note that "every eye shall see him" is the second coming.
I have a hard time understanding how these folks could think pretribulationists preach a secret rapture. We seem to be doing our very best to popularize the rapture before it takes place. I doubt that, afterwards, with all the car wrecks, plane crashes, and missing persons reports, the rapture will remain a secret occurrence.
The only people I know who are attempting to keep the pre-trib rapture a secret are its critics. Pre-wrath and post-trib folks have the national media and the liberal churches as their allies in their ongoing effort to silence all knowledge of the "blessed hope."
Another argument made against Pre-trib rapture is about the restrainer in:
2 Thess 2: NKJV
1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 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. 8 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 restrains is the church. My rapture speaks about saltiness. See this link for saltiness:
Does the Bible teach a purgatory for believers?
Salt preserves. The church is the salt of the earth. Once the salt is removed, evil will have free coarse. And yes, the Glorious Appearing takes place after the anti-christ is revealed. But the 1st rapture is not the Glorious Appearing.
There are 2 books I highly recommend to understand the rapture. They are not perfect, but they are tremendously wonderful.
Revelation Unveiled by Tim LaHaye
Chapter 1 audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIKlKmz5kPk
Some of the book can be viewed here:
Are We Living in the End Times by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins
Some of the book can be viewed here:
Links of interest:
Believing vs. Being Born Again
Walking in the Spirit
Interpreting Scripture: How to understand the Bible
The Gospel of the Kingdom vs. The Gospel of Salvation
Are You Prepared for the Blessed Hope?
Oil & the Holy Spirit: The 2 Anointings
The 2 & a Half Tribes that didn't Cross Over
Eternal Judgment: of the Believer
The Great Apostasy
Babylon's Authority is Ordained to Come