On the “Rapture” and the “Church Prevailing”—a Few Thoughts Pre-Trib

Phyllis Nissila

A RAPTURE

Rapture is a term in Christian eschatology which refers to the “being caught up” discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, when the “dead in Christ” and “we who are alive and remain” will be “caught up in the clouds” to meet “the Lord in the air” [1].

The Rapture (a concept derived by Bible scholars from a study of the Greek term harpazo (to carry off, snatch up, and the Latin term, rapiemur [2]) is believed to take place sometime before, during, or after, the Great Tribulation, a period of seven years at the end of the so-called Church Age described in several books of the Bible [3]. I favor a pre-Tribulation Rapture for several reasons, two of which are discussed here: the pattern of redemption and deliverance found throughout the Scriptures and Jesus’ teaching on the Church’s “prevailing power” over “the gates of Hell.”

A PATTERN

My choice of a pre-Tribulation Rapture is based partly on a pattern of redemption and deliverance threaded through the biblical account of the history of mankind. God provides, mankind sins, trouble ensues, God intervenes and redeems by grace, through faith, a sequence of events that began at the beginning.

Against a backdrop of pristine creation including daily fellowship with their Creator, the first humans set the pattern, man-side. They may have thought all was lost after they disobeyed God and were escorted to the exit gate, but God was there, Redeemer-side, with both physical and spiritual “covering”.

A PROMISE

After God clothed the duo with “garments of skin,” He seeded a promise into creation by addressing the Devil directly: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15 NIV). The promise? Jesus Christ incarnate. God’s prophecy at Eden’s exit pointed to the redemptive mission of God’s own Son.

Granted, it was many centuries until Jesus arrived. Similarly, it has been another long stretch of time, to date, since early “New Testament” references to the Rapture. However, many other types and shadows of deliverance, most in the natural, but some of a supernatural, harpazo type, have occurred.

Consider these well-known natural accounts: the escape from the flood by Noah and his family, the deliverance of Lot and his family from the twin cities, and the Jews’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt.

Prior occurrences of the supernatural, or Rapture type of “leaving” if you will, for varied reasons, include Enoch’s “translation” so that “he should not see death” (Hebrews 11:50], Elijah’s “taking” up to Heaven “in a whirlwind” (2 Kings 2:11) and Paul’s reference to what may have been a similar phenomenon when he was “caught up in the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2).

But what encourages me anew today and prompts me to post this commentary is another reason I believe in a pre-Tribulation rapture which, as noted above, is this: the Church’s power to prevail over “the gates of Hell,” specifically, when the Church prevails, and why, and when this restraining force will no longer impede Satan’s destructive bent.

A PREVAILING

 On “who”(the Church) prevails against “whom” (the powers, or “gates,” of Hell), as prophesied by Jesus, consider:

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates (pule: authorities and powers) of Hades (Hell) will not overcome (katischuo: overpower, prevail against) it (the Church made of others to whom God has revealed Jesus as Messiah, Son of the living God) (Matthew 16:13-18, NIV, bolding added).

In short: the Church has the power to prevail against Satan; indeed, testimonies of the answered prayers of believers throughout the history of the Church would fill volumes too numerous to count.

However, the “prevailing” power of the Church is not to last. Consider another Scripture:

It (the Beast, or Anti-Christ, who derives power from Satan) was given power (nikao: to conquer, prevail, overcome) to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation (Revelation 13:7).

And so the questions: Where is the ‘prevailing Church’ in this end time scenario? Why is the Devil able to prevail against God’s people then?

In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul explains, “…the one who now holds (katecho, restrains, binds, detains) it (complete lawlessness) back will continue to do so till he is taken out (ek or ex, from out, or out from among) of the way. And then the lawless (anomia, utter disregard for God’s law) one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Indeed, Paul notes that “the mystery of iniquity” was already at work even then.

And who is this “one” who restrains that “lawless one”? Many believe this refers to He Who dwells in the Church, the Holy Spirit, Who enables us to prevail—while we are yet here—against the powers and authorities of Hell by faith, through prayer, fasting, intercession, and other tasks assigned believers.

The original Greek rendering of the 2 Thessalonians verses from an interlinear text, brings, I think, even more clarity:

(The) indeed mystery already is working – of lawlessness only [there is] the [one] restraining [it]at present until out of [the] midst he might be [gone] [4].

In short, the One imparted to believers at salvation and Who abides in us now is He Who enables us to prevail over the powers and authorities of Hell, and we will one day be taken, harpazo’d, caught away, raptured “out of the midst”. Then the Anti-Christ will be revealed and he will prevail, for a season.

For these two reasons, among others, I believe the Rapture is before the seven year Tribulation period. Though others hold to different times for the “catching away,” I think it’s safe to say that all of us believe we are not far from that event. Not far at all.

***

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapture

[2] http://www.conservapedia.com/Rapture

[3] http://christianity.about.com/od/faqhelpdesk/f/thetribulation.htm

[4] http://biblehub.com/interlinear/2_thessalonians/2-7.htm

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29 Responses to On the “Rapture” and the “Church Prevailing”—a Few Thoughts Pre-Trib

  1. thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

    I think much of the problem stems from conflating and confusing the difference between the earthly persecution and tribulation at the hands of the anti-Christ (whether in the final “7 years” or any other period of history) and the actual Wrath of God, and the eternal consequences of being condemned to hell after standing before the judgment of the Lord.

    Your entire thesis here for defending the pre-Trib really hinges on construing the persecution of the AC as being on par with facing God’s wrath and judgment. But the two are clearly not the same. In Matt 24, Jesus clearly tells us, “You will face persecution!”, so how can we turn around and somehow convince ourselves that face persecution and possible death is counter to the saving grace of God..? Yes, the early Christians believed Christ could return in their lifetime, but they also stood fast in the face of persecution, being jailed, executed, fed to lions, etc. Somehow that didn’t conflict with their understanding of both grace, and “imminence”.

    I used to adhere to the kinds of arguments you are outlining here. I was actually raised in them and found them perfectly logical in the appearance for many years, until one fateful day I was simply reading through the book of II Thessalonians, and the first few sentences in chapter 2 forced me to finally stop and reconsider so much of what I had previously assumed to be true…

    I notice that you did not include those verses in your exploration of the topic, as I have found to be the case in almost every instance where the pre-Trib stance is presented as biblical fact.

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    • pnissila says:

      Hi, “truth…”

      Thank you for stopping by!

      Yes, I understand what you are saying about persecution. Certainly, even as I type these words there is horrendous persecution of Christians happening in the Middle East…unspeakable brutality… As a child in Catholic schools, I read, heard, and studied many stories of the “Catholic saints” throughout the ages who were persecuted and martyred. Since then I have become aware also of the countless Protestant martyrs.

      And this is not even to touch on the perennial prevalence in Church history of numerous Christian victims of “soft persecution,” i.e., “resistance to the Christian message” that might not out and out kill Christians but certainly oppresses them, that exists in certain sociopolitical environments as well as in homes where there might be the persecution of, say, an unbelieving spouse against a believing spouse, or parents and children at odds over faith in Jesus Christ.

      But here is what makes me and other pre-Tribulationists think the upcoming persecution is akin to the “wrath of God” brand of persecution noted in the prophetic books of the Bible: it is interwoven into the eschatological narrative. This kind of persecution/wrath is not historically random, if you will, nor is it tied to man-engineered persecution or religious wars ginned up by money or greed or power mongering. This persecution is tied in with the convergence of other significant so-called end-time events taking place right now.

      Granted, nobody knows how long the prelude to the “end of the Church Age” prophecies will last until the Anti-Christ appears, but so many events prophesied have taken shape of late, as in no other time in history: the re-birth of the State of Israel, the significance of the specific Metonic cycle we are now in, the significance of the blood moons of this and next year taking place on Jewish feasts, and the current re-building of the Caliphate which puts all the ancient players back in their original positions, to name a few events–see many more of the “prophetic puzzle pieces” that are now being positioned, here: https://pnissila.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/patterns1-2.pdf and in numerous other places on the web.

      With regard to the 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 information, I invite you to consider what Pastor J.D. Farag teaches on this. Here is a link to his presentation: UPDATE: well, for some reason, I cannot get this link to post, so search for this:
      JD Farag Mid-East Prophecy Update, you tube August 26th 2012.

      Here is another good summary of the last seven years which includes references to the timing of the Rapture as well as the other events. Of course, there is so much out there to read and to consider. http://www.lamblion.us/2014/08/tribulation-versus-great-tribulation.html

      You and I and other Christians may still not agree on the timing of the Rapture; however, discussions and information sharing such as this will, I think, help ramp up at least awareness of the times we are in when so many churches are no longer teaching prophecy.

      Blessings.

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      • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

        Yes, I agree that these discussions are beneficial and help challenge us all to be more aware and take closer looks at scripture, and so I certainly am not one of those types who gets so amped up over the debate that I would view those who disagree with me as not still being true brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m glad you weren’t upset that I pined in.

        Ok, you said, “But here is what makes me and other pre-Tribulationists think the upcoming persecution is akin to the “wrath of God” brand of persecution noted in the prophetic books of the Bible: it is interwoven into the eschatological narrative. This kind of persecution/wrath is not historically random, if you will, nor is it tied to man-engineered persecution or religious wars ginned up by money or greed or power mongering. This persecution is tied in with the convergence of other significant so-called end-time events taking place right now.”

        But, of course it’s all “interwoven into the eschatological narrative”… That’s the whole point! But again… I’m not sure that I see you making a specific enough definition of what you mean by “persecution” in order to know quite how to respond. By “persecution”, I mean the ill-treatment, jailing, hunting, beheading of Christians etc. And yes, this has always occurred throughout history, but the question is, does the Bible talk about Christians being persecuted throughout the end-time events, and reign of the AC? I would say it most certainly does. AND, again, the point has to be stressed, that this “persecution”, is something quite distinct and different from the Wrath of God, which comes not from or through men, but from above, by the hands of angels and such, as seen in the seals, trumpets and bowls… The AC doesn’t cause the plagues, or the locusts to come out of the pit, or hailstones or 1/3 of everything burning up, etc., God does! and so I get it, the tendency for Christians is to read about those things and go “God wouldn’t subject His people to that!” And again, I would agree, and this is exactly why I would urge anyone to go through and read those chapters in Revelation much more carefully, and notice that all of the judgments of God falling on the Earth, are “specifically targeted” those who are in opposition to God, but not His people (who are still here too!) Check out Rev. 9:4. or also Rev. 13:8-10. These verses are rendered completely nonsensical if there are no Christians on the earth at that time. (not to mention others like Rev 7:14, Rev 6:11) So again, we see persecution against the saints coming from the AC, and the wrath of God coming from, well, GOD! He is quite capable of sparing His own from demonic plagues and pestilence and the rest, just as He protected the Israelites when the plagues were being poured out on Egypt, even though they were living right there next to the Egyptians.

        So all in all, when I read through Revelation and see it constantly specifying how the judgments are being poured out on “those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads”, I guess I don’t understand why would need to construct an entire eschatology which serves to protect us from wrath which the Bible already says we would be protected from.

        Why do we think it says, “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have NOT been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world”…?? (Rev 13:8) How does this specifying statement make any sense at all, if the rapture has already happened, and there is no one left BUT people whose names aren’t in the book of life?

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      • Cathy says:

        God loves His People, those, “Elect” whose names are IN, the Book of Life!
        God can create Catastrophe, as well as Good! He has Promised Judgent, and He Is Faithful!ul!
        He will Seal those ppl, during the Wrath of God, and they shall Not be hurt! They did NOT worship the Beast (AC)!
        Who is the AC?
        According to Prophesy, of the BIBLE:
        Comes out of ROME! Do your own, homework.
        But, I will tell you, he’s Not from The Mid East….He’s from Rome!
        Daniel 7 acts as a Template, for Revelation!
        I personally, have been to Patmos and have seen, where Christ appeared to John, to give him His Revelation. I was, RC at the time, and knew 0 of Revelation!

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      • pnissila says:

        Hi, again.

        Yes, Christians will be persecuted throughout the end-time events; however, the group of believers I and other pre-Trib proponents refer to would be people who come to Christ after the Rapture (as I thought about my first response, I realized I didn’t make this quite clear). Those, I believe, are the saints referred to in several of your Revelation references, above.

        Perhaps the people who come to Christ after the Rapture, as pre-Trib teachings indicate, know something of the prophecies but have just not made their decision, yet. Perhaps they have come across teachings on the Internet, in bookstores, in the homes of their now-missing friends and relatives, and so on. There is much written on this (and you have probably seen some of it in your past, pre-Trib days). Here is one more summary that might be included in the mix: http://ldolphin.org/kingdom/ch6.html. I could cite many prophecy scholars on this as you probably could also cite many mid-, even post-Trib, well-known and respected researchers, some of the same I may also have come across in the past and considered, myself, when I was searching for more information.

        I don’t quite have the faith you have, however, in believing that the cataclysmic events visited on the earth during the last seven years of this age will not affect the Tribulation believers, except for those in Jerusalem who heed the warning to flee to the desert and perhaps people in very remote, out-of-harm’s-way areas of the world who will survive anyway (just my opinion on that last one).

        Granted, Revelation 9:4 indicates that the locusts “from the pit” will not be allowed to “hurt…any green thing…only those who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads…” but I have heard conjectures pertaining the role of technology vis a vis the “mark” of the Beast that could accomplish that (consider, for example, external RF controls that could affect the human physiology by way of affecting an implanted chip of some sort. I have a couple of brothers who are on the cutting edge of related technology and we have had interesting discussions on the possibilities). Therefore, at least this one of the “wrathful events,” you might put it, might not harm flora and fauna but only unbelievers. But of course, this implies that I also believe that what is described in terms of “bowls” and “seals” and so forth, in the apocalyptic, poetic prose genre of writing in the book of Revelation, might come through the agents of Hell, or those inspired by those agents (consider mankind’s ability to alter weather patterns via technology, for one), as well as through regular old natural phenomena (such as increased seismic activity) ramping up, even as Jesus prophesied.

        Thus, my thoughts. And never hesitate to offer your opinion, here, as we all “see through the glass darkly” but with the joyful anticipation of the coming King. 🙂

        Cheers,
        P.

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      • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

        hmmm, yes, well even though there is so much I still don’t understand fully, I would have to say that I do feel that I have “done my homework”, so to speak, at least to the degree that I understand that “Rome” (I assume u mean the papacy and broader Roman Catholic Church) is without question a part of the beast system. I have plenty of friends and colleagues who tend to see the RCC as THE beast, and the pope as THE AC (not surprisingly, most of them being former catholics). But I am afraid that through all my research, I cannot limit it to such a small scope.

        It is such a tendency of ours, as the minority of Christians who actually bother to look into prophecy and the world around us, to gravitate towards one group or one thing as being the Beast, or “Babylon”, or the probable source of the AC, etc., and it makes sense to me why we have this tendency. Each of us has different backgrounds, and are usually more familiar with one particular sector of false teaching than the others. This is something I believe the Enemy capitalizes on with great success, in keeping us from seeing the full breadth of just how massive his global influence truly is. If basically everything that is not of Christ is in the end just another “front-group” to be used by the devil, then how mind-boggling complex must that overall “network” really be….

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    • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

      Hi pnissila, yes, I’m familiar with the “left-behind saints” theory.

      But I would simply encourage you to stop and really consider the plausibility of that whole idea.

      The pre-trib position has to explain away II Thessalonians 2, which plainly says we will not be caught up to be with Christ until the man of sin is revealed…

      Then the pre-trib position has to come up with “left-behind saints” in order to explain away all the examples of Christians being very much on the earth during the Tribulation…

      Also, most pre-trib theories use the argument that the Holy Spirit, present in the hearts of Christians, is the “restrainer” that has to be taken out of the way for the AC to arise. Thus, there must be “pre trib rapture”. But, so what about those “left-behind saints” then? Do they not have the Holy Spirit (how can they really be Christians then?) OR how else could the “restrainer” still be considered to be “out of the way”…?

      The contradictions just add up, one upon another, forcing this view which leans ostensibly on speculation and reason over simply taking the scripture at face value and allowing for the far simpler and logical interpretation…

      With the “pre-trib” rapture, plus the rapture that must inevitably occur at the end to catch those lingering “left behind saints”, you end up with TWO raptures. And we convince ourselves that this is quite reasonable and scriptural, simply because the thought that God would actually have His Bride go through the persecution under a global false Christ is so repugnant to us….

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      • Cathy says:

        No, it’s not the Holy Spirit, that is removed, before, the Man Of Sin, is revealed!
        It IS the Roman Empire, where the Papacy is released! As much, as I want to believe, in the Rapture of the Church….It is a RC Futurism ploy, started by the Jesuit Order, as Counter-Reformation. It took on its beginnings with the “Oxford Movement” in Tracts, and on, and on……..
        Please, don’t STOP your Prophecy Studies….just divert your attention to Revelation 17—Mystery Babylon, Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth ( She IS the Women, who rides the Beast!!!!)

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      • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

        (yes, I’ve heard this interpretation before, to be sure. No one who knows where I stand on things would ever accuse me of being an apologist for the Roman Catholic Church or the Papacy, but honestly, you’ve got to broaden your scope. The belief in a literal second-coming of Christ and a rapture of any sort is certainly not a “Jesuit futurist ploy”, unless you are trying to suggest that the Jesuits actually wrote the entirety of the New Testament….?)

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      • Cathy says:

        No, In That Day, is what God, has decided, not the Papacy or the Jesuit Order!
        I am saying that, what you are calling the Rapture /Catching Up, is The Last Day, when Christ returns (The Second Coming!!!)
        The Christian Worlf Falls into 2 categories: Preterism (AC came in the Past) and Futurism ( a coming AC)….they have been DUPED!
        The New World Religion, will be a Synthesis of all Religions, under the Mother (the Roman Catholic Church)
        The Emergent Church, is already here, through, the Council of Churches, with it’s GOAL:Unity!
        The World loves, the Humble Pope Francis, Holy Father Extraordinaire !
        Even, Muslims, venerate Mary, because of the Fatima connection( Fatima was Mohamed’s daughter!) Jesuit Involvement!
        Hey, even George Bush, saw god in the Popes eyes! Which god, not my God!
        Just be Careful!
        Your Belieth in Rapture wll not effect your Salvation!
        Many Blessings

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      • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

        ok. I confess Cathy, I really DON’T understand your logic, because if you believe that Jesus is still set to return to Earth, “the Second Coming”, then that is “futurism”. Doesn’t really matter if you see the papacy as being the ongoing seat of the AC or otherwise. So maybe I’m just totally confused now, not sure, but unless you are saying you don’t believe in the return of Christ at all, or you think He’s ALREADY come, then in that sense, you are a “futurist”…

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      • Cathy says:

        P,
        Oh YES, he’s coming!!!
        Futurism, has to do with the AC’s Arrival!
        Well, that won’t work, because, he’s been around, for quite afew centuries!
        Have you not read Revelation 17?
        So clear of the AC Ownership!
        Don’t let, the Left Behind set, cloud your thinking! Yes, I saw the movies, quite entertaining, written, by contemporary Evangelicals!

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      • pnissila says:

        Cathy,
        On your comments, here:
        I fully understand your anger over the deceptions of the Catholic Church over the centuries. You know my story: took me a full six years to “come out” even after I became a Christian way back when…and my blog posts in the series “Out of the Fire….” and other, “ex-Catholic posts,” tell the story of why.

        I bring this up here because, again, it’s hard for me to follow the logic of some of your comments. As you know, I don’t always “approve” your comments for publication, and this is one reason why. It’s kind of like a stone skipping across water: the logic isn’t always “touching down,” you might say, even though there is a discernable direction.

        Additionally, your (understandable) anger over what RCism has done to you and to many others over time sort of “flames off the page,” as it were. Whereas I agree the truth needs to be told, such an approach might be better on another blog or web site.

        I have a clear sense about the tone of my blog: I am first and foremost an encourager, sometimes a teacher, all times desiring to temper whatever transpires here with compassion and kindness. Yes, it is a kindness to tell each other the unvarnished truth, but I believe it is important to do so with mercy, keeping in mind the spiritual, mental, and psychological “woundedness” of those coming out of such a religious system.

        It’s just that I remember hearing the really scary things about the Catholic Church in my “coming out” days and they mostly put me off, but what went directly to my heart and changed my life while nurturing my recovery were the actions and comments of those who were patient and kind with me (even as I was putting anti-Catholic tracts with flames and devils on the front page in the lectionary for the priest to “find” when he opened it up to “say” the readings at Mass…;)).

        To me, coming out of such a damaged system is like a physical healing period: asses the wound, clean it carefully, and refresh the bandages and ointment as needed until the healing process is complete.

        And so, while you may need to find another place to vent as you need to, you and I can definitely agree on the following two things (in addition to others that we have agreed on in other conversion threads):

        1. Roman Catholicism in its many iterations through the centuries has seriously strayed from many foundational Christian doctrines, to the point of hardly being recognizable, in some instances, as a true, Christian organization; to the danger of rank apostasy, in other instances.

        2. As you note: belief in the Rapture (I would add: when and where) is not necessary for salvation!

        Blessings,
        P.

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      • Cathy says:

        P,
        I apologize for my Zeal.
        It is very hard, for me, not to argue my point. Therefore I will not participate, in your Blog, for Softy, Light, Luke Warm, Hot Tub Christians!
        I know, your Following, is Paramount to you, SO, I will not OFFEND, any ppl, that make you Happy!
        Glad you came out, of the System, unscathed!
        Keep up your, Divine Appointment, to help others. It is a Command, by The Lord, to Love Your Neighbor…..and that, you have achieved!
        Some Neighbors

        Many Blessings
        Cathy

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      • pnissila says:

        Cathy,

        I hope you will at least continue to be encouraged, here. And, I do GET your zeal! That religious system is quite harmful… and there are still areas I detect a degree of “scathing” still in the healing process, even after all these years!

        Blessings,
        P.

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      • Cathy says:

        P,
        This has been a grueling journey, out of the Bondage of Roman Catholicism. Slowly, the Chains are coming off. It’s hard, when your Family, believe in, the System, and you are opposed utterly!
        This has been my 7 year awakening, when, I was chosen, by the Lord. I am, so blessed to know, He has adopted me, into the Family of God, as a Child Of God!
        Sister In Christ
        Cathy

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      • pnissila says:

        Cathy,
        See my next post, “Out of the Fire 8…” And thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

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      • pnissila says:

        Cathy, I agree with “truth…” The Jesuits have had quite a bit of power through the centuries, but I seriously doubt they co-opted the entire New Testament… 😉

        And whereas the Oxford Movement dates from the nineteenth century, in addition to the first century Gospel references to the harpazo of the church, writings on the doctrine of imminence and pretribulationism date from the first century as well. http://www.essentialchristianity.com/pages.asp?pageid=21918

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      • Cathy says:

        These people were great scholars, who were behind the Revisions of the NT! I will only use the King James Version, because it was Not Tainted! The Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, tells of a, corrupt working, of the Vatican!
        The Latin text,is different from the Greek text, to justify Doctrine…RC Doctrine!!!
        These people are Master Manipulators….Who can fight them?
        The Protestant Denominations….Don’t Think So!

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      • pnissila says:

        H, “truth…”

        It seems that you do not subscribe to any harpazo, then, as any Christians left at Jesus’ return at the end of the Tribulation wouldn’t actually need to be Rapture’d?

        I can see your viewpoint. Such a thing as a “catching away,” or “catching up” is outside of our ken except for the examples cited in the Old Testament, and Jesus’ ascension from the mount. And one would have to also put faith in another “way” (making it a total of three) the Holy Spirit would interact with His people through the Tribulation period. Some conjecture this would be akin to His presence before the Church Age.There are many web sites and publications devoted to this topic.

        And yet, there is that persistent, “blessed hope”…
        1 Thess 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
        1 Thess 4:17 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.
        Rev 3:10 Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.
        Zeph 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.
        Isa 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…

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      • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

        Not quite pnissila! I very much DO believe in a “harpazo”, or “catching up”. So once again, I would say it’s apparent how much the fuzzying of the definitions for these terms has really contributed to so much of the confusion, and people talking back to each other…

        I DO believe in a “rapture”, a “catching up into the air”, where the Saints meet Christ in the air, and are instantly changed into resurrected bodies. Ok… The main difference (besides the timing difference) is simply that I do not anywhere read in the scriptures that it is this “secret” or “invisible” event. The Bible describes this event as instantaneous, yes, but NOT “invisible” to the rest of the world. I see this as really just a pure invention and something that we have more or less assumed into the text, even though it’s not there. And also, even if we are talking about a “harpazo” which comes towards the end of AC’s reign, and after so much of the “crazy stuff” described in Revelation, it’s still a “catching up” BEFORE the HOUR of Judgment fully, and totally comes. (which is simply the SAME day and hour that Jesus shows up, catches up the saints, and BOOM, judgment on the earth…)

        Think about it, how does Peter describe the judgment? He says, “You ought to live holy and godly lives, as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat….”

        When do the heavens get totally destroyed by fire, or the elements melt in the heat? on “that day”, the Day of the Lord. This is the final act, the obliteration of everything as it were, before the new heavens and the new earth, and logically, can only happen once! So… Does that still not make sense?

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  2. Eliza says:

    Here is what I wrote to someone who actually thought the pre-tribulation rapture was a false doctrine. This person believed that it teaches that the body of Christ is divided. I hope it is okay to paste this here. If not, then I understand. God bless you:)

    There are two clear references to the rapture, though that word is not used, in the New Testament letters written by Paul as led by the Holy Spirit. The early church had the eager anticipation of the Lord Jesus Christ coming for them from heaven and calling them up to be with Him forever.

    Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

    For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. 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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

    Paul then goes on to write about the signs of His return in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5:1-3, and then contrasts the ignorance of unbelievers with revelation that believers have about Jesus Christ’s return for His church. Paul in the next verses contrasts the behavior of unbelievers with that of believers in the context of Christ’s return. Paul isn’t changing the subject when he finally says that we are not appointed for wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, that whether we wake of sleep, we should live together with Him. This verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:10 refers back to 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18. So I feel confident that this reference to believers not being appointed for wrath refers not only to ultimate salvation but also to the wrath of God poured out upon a disbelieving world during the 7 year tribulation.

    But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10

    We know that, based upon Romans 9-11, the nation of Israel has been set aside until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled which is stated specifically by Paul in Romans 11:25-26:

    For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:25-36

    We can clearly see that the Gentiles have been those who have followed Jesus Christ throughout the generations after Christ’s ascension, but there is going to be a time when God deals specifically with Israel. The church is not referenced nor mentioned in any of these instances of God bringing His beloved nation of Israel to repentant faith in Jesus Christ. Finally in Revelation we notice that Jesus Christ is dealing with the nation of Israel and chooses out of the tribes of Israel those who are ordained to be His witnesses during the tribulation with the effect that many will be saved during that 7 year period.

    And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:1-17

    Now God’s Word does not specifically say that these who are saved are the fruit of the testimony of the 144,000 Jews who follow the Lamb, but it is pretty clear from the passage that this is the case. I did notice that I have incorrectly stated that a Christian speaking to John in Revelation was an angel, but when John was tempted to worship this person in Revelation 19:9-10 the spokesperson for the Lord clearly says that he is a believer. Here is a clear reference to believers in Heaven before Christ’s return to judge the world in righteousness, along with the many references to elders surrounding the throne of God and worshipping Him found in Revelation. Additionally, the saints accompany Christ when He returns to judge the world in righteousness.

    Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Revelation 19:7-14

    We know that there are now believers in Heaven with Christ and there are those who are on the earth who are walking with Christ, they are the same body and there is no division between us who are here on the earth and those who are in the presence of the Lord because of death. In the same way, there will be no division between the body that is saved during the tribulation and those who are raptured to be with the Lord Jesus Christ prior to the tribulation. They will all be united with Him whether with Him in Heaven or with Him on earth. What the saints during the tribulation have to endure in no way distinguishes them, as far as eternity with Christ, from those who have gone to be with the Lord through the ages or those who have been raptured by Him prior to His judgment upon this earth. There are two examples in the Old Testament of those who were raptured to be with the Lord, Enoch and Elijah, and their reward is no different, eternity with Christ, than the reward of those who suffered and died for Christ like Zechariah son of Berechiah or those who died of old age, like Rahab the harlot. Their reward of eternity with Christ is the same because it is all of grace and not based upon any merit of their own; and so it is for all believers.

    For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. Matthew 20:1-16

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    • pnissila says:

      Eliza,

      Thank you very much for the “long version” with much more Scriptural evidence! I am sure this will bless many as do your blog posts on many topics.

      From those who do not believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture, I often hear this: those of us who do don’t seem to care much about evangelizing.

      To the contrary!

      Those I know who believe that we will be “caught up to be with the Lord” prior to the seven years are SOME OF THE MOST EAGER TO GET THE WORD OUT WHILE THERE IS TIME! Primarily due to the the “imminence” of it, i.e., it could happen at any moment, as the Scripture references indicate. Best, as my brother Greg says, “have one’s spiritual bags packed” ;).

      I hope also that viewers here read my sister Claire’s summaries of the time table of events as concisely presented in her “tri-folds” on my “Free Downloads” page. EVER the Hebrew language student, Claire’s work reveals much about the convergence of prophetic and “natural” events:
      https://pnissila.wordpress.com/products/moedim_tri_fold_word-2/
      https://pnissila.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/time_2_tri_fold-1.pdf
      https://pnissila.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/patterns1-2.pdf

      These are graphically organized, so to speak, in order to condense the information and see the “puzzle piece connections.”

      Blessings.

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    • Cathy says:

      Our SALVATIOM, does NOT depend, on our belief in Rapture! I believe, in the Second Coming, of our Lord! That’s all that needs to be said!….”Look up, your Redemption, is growing Nigh!”
      There will be a Tribulation, when Christ comes again…but we are Promised Eternal Life, for we are not citizens of this World, but of, Heaven!
      Isiah 55: 9

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  3. Cathy says:

    It was the Roman Empire, that was to fall away and the the Man of Sin would appear(Little Horn!) Futurism, was planted, by the Jesuit Order, as the CounterReformation . This ploy, would divert attention, from the AC, the Papacy! See, in Genesis 3:15, Jesus was to stomp on the head of the Serpent, but the .jesuit Bible says She ( Meaning Mary)! Interesting Insight: Richard Bennett( former Dominican Priest) YouTube The Unveiling of AntiChrist!
    The Christian World, has been, so Deceived, just how Christ warned us, in Matthew 24!

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    • pnissila says:

      Hi, Cathy,

      Ah, yes, I remember the Roman Catholic version and the statues of Mary, a crown of twelve stars surrounding her head standing atop a world on which one foot rests on a snake. These statues were prominent in at least one Catholic school and church I attended. Pretty potent visuals combined with the teachings on Mary who was later deemed (ca 1854) “sinless” like Jesus (“Immaculate Conception” doctrine) and His “Co-Mediatrix” (from Catholic tradition since the third century and stated as such in a radio broadcast by Pope Pius XI in 1935).

      Fortunately for us and millions of others who have come out of her (and those still in that system struggling just now with the contradictions between RCism and classic Christian teachings; may God help them as He has innumerable others through the centuries) the Word of God is so much more powerful. And, of course, it remains the same , “yesterday, today, and forever.” No additions, subtractions, multiplications, or divisions where “the water, the blood, and the spirit agree” (I John 5:8).

      Cheers and Blessings 🙂

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  4. healingInHim says:

    A very timely post. Yes, there are many differing views … all I can say is that even with the soft persecution many of us receive; it has me sighing and longing to be with Christ.
    There is so much evil and it certainly would appear that the “catching away” may not be that far away.

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    • pnissila says:

      Hello, there!

      I’m glad there is comfort for you in this post (maybe that is part of the blessing of reading the book of Revelation). For more of a graphic presentation of the convergence of events, see

      https://pnissila.wordpress.com/products/moedim_tri_fold_word-2/

      https://pnissila.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/time_2_tri_fold-1.pdf

      https://pnissila.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/patterns1-2.pdf

      My sister Claire, ever the Hebrew and prophecy student, has prepared these “tri-folds” that testify to the time-table of the salient events that give us hope and a heads-up as to the imminence of the Rapture and other prophetic events.

      Blessings and encouragement to you, today!

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      • healingInHim says:

        Thank you for the links to the PDF’s. I guess why this is a timely post is I’m just completing a series on Church Doctrine by the late Martyn Lloyd Jones. I’ve always respected is very forthright delivery of God’s Word, however, I am discovering that he did not adhere to what some call the ‘secret rapture’ … to me, it won’t be a secret:-)
        Thank you Lord for those who love to study the truth of Your infallible Word. Many only want to hear about the love of Christ which means excluding the reality of ‘eternal hell’. They want to believe that ‘destruction’ means ‘utterly destroyed’, once and for all, thus they will not live in eternal agony — a loving God wouldn’t allow suffering, etc …

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