Rapture Timing Pt. 2

This series is written as a defense of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Timing

SEE PART 1 HERE

In this series, we’re hoping to build a deeper understanding of the timing of the rapture.  My position is pre-tribulation, so I’ll be covering the purpose of the tribulation, and a general understanding of end times events seen in Revelation and other prophetic Scriptures.

In Part 1 of Rapture Timing Tidbits, we covered the order of the Resurrections within the first resurrection to help build some foundation of understanding. Some that I have had discussions with don’t seem to quite see multiple resurrections within the first resurrection. (Maybe others do as there are several variations within the teaching), but it is one argument I have seen used for the rapture not being before the tribulation (citing Revelation 20:5-6).

Pre-wrath Rapture Timing

Marvin Rosenthal and Robert Van Kampen are the main teachers of the Pre-wrath position. That is basically the only other timing I’ll address briefly here. Since Rosenthal’s writings in 1990, this teaching has picked up in popularity. 

I do not plan to get in an argument with anyone. For some reason, it seems that some get very angry discussing this, repeating the same statements over and over. Others will call you heretics or allude to the teaching being heresy (i.e. ‘pastor’ Steven Anderson or Jacob Prasch). When you pose any Scriptural questions of their position, instead of answering back with Scripture in a calm and kind manner, some will just ask another question in response and/or ignore it altogether. You can’t have a Biblical discussion that way.

Again, this blog will not be the place for argument or displays of anger, ridicule or mocking. Orderly sincere questions will be answered as long as the person is willing to hear Scriptural responses. A back and forth friendly discussion with His Word will be always welcome, but not with posting links or other teachers. This also won’t be a place for another to teach a different position, you can do always do that on your own page or group.

Brief Glossary of End time terms

  1. Rapture – This is the gathering of the church in the clouds by Jesus Christ when He comes to bring us with Him. The words with which we are to comfort one another.
  2. Pre-Tribulation Rapture – The position that the rapture can take place at any time without any signs, and before the last seven years of Tribulation upon the earth.
  3. Pre-Wrath Rapture – The position that the rapture happens some place close to the end of the seven years of Tribulation (approximate 22 months before).
  4. First Resurrection – Includes all the different timing of resurrections of the righteous from Jesus, the rapture, the two Witnesses, and to the Tribulation and OT Saints (see part 1).
  5. Daniel’s 70th Week – The last seven years of a prophecy seen in Daniel 9:24-27 and referenced by Christ in Matt 24. Also Known as the Tribulation. I will cover this more in part 3.
  6. Daniel’s 70 week prophecy – A 490 year prophecy given to Daniel mainly in chapter 9. Each week was a period of 7 years. Daniel’s Prophecy is divided up into specific periods of time with 483 years already fulfilled in history. In brief this judgment is upon Israel for their sin. Seven years are still left unfulfilled for them and were described more fully by Jesus in Matthew 24. Specifically the first part (3-1/2 years) is called birth pangs or beginning of sorrows and the last 3-1/2 years of the 7 year Tribulation is called the ‘Great’ Tribulation, which starts midway with the Antichrist setting himself up to be worshipped as God (Rev 13).
  7. The Day of the Lord – A time of judgment which may encompass a certain period of time, but not just one event. It may be spread out over time periods. Specifically in these articles, we are speaking to the rapture and then the seven year Tribulation which includes the man of sin revealing Himself at the beginning, a great apostasy and halfway through him setting himself up in the temple. It also includes His Judgment at His second coming and the start of the Millennium and at the end of the Millennium. There is what some define as the ‘broad’ sense or the ‘narrow’ sense of the Day of the Lord. The reason for that is the Day of the Lord includes a lot of events, and was some of the signs were shown at His first coming (Acts 2, Joel 2) and still will occur after the Millennium (2 Pet 3:10) when the heavens and the earth dissolve and are burned up and a new heavens and earth are made.
  8. The Millennium – a 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth which will include all believers, both those who have physical bodies (because they endured until the end, (they didn’t die), they will be able to procreate in the Millennium). Then there are those who were martyred and have resurrection bodies living in the Millennium.   We, the church who were raptured before the Tribulation, will also have resurrection bodies. 

Common Ground Pre-tribulation rapture may have with Pre-wrath

Pre-trib believers do find agreement with the timing of the ‘Great’ Tribulation which is the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week. Pre-wrath teachers believe the Day of the Lord starts after the rapture, (which they believe comes sometime after the sixth seal seen in Revelation 6:17). They see the rapture in the multitude in heaven in Revelation 7, vs. believing souls from out of the tribulation who are absent from the body and present with the Lord (awaiting their resurrected bodies). More on the seals to come in the future.  There are varying views within the pre-wrath camp, so it may be more helpful to ask the individual where they stand.

The main argument they (PreWrath) use for their timing is that the actual word ‘wrath’ isn’t used until vs. 17 of chapter six. Their understanding is that all that has transpired in the first six seals is not God’s wrath. They also see the rapture being defined in Matt 24:29-31. If it were so, the rapture would be at the second coming of Christ and immediately AFTER the Great Tribulation (last 3.5 years of the 7 years).  Part of this is because pre-wrathers see the cosmic signs spoken of in the sixth seal as only happening once and forget the ones still coming. 

But may I ask, if that period of time (after all the death, killing, famine, pestilence, earthquakes and cosmic signs-seal 1-6) was the commencement of the Day of the Lord, who is it who would be saying, ‘Peace and Safety’ at that time? With a ¼ of the earth dead so quickly, why would they be thinking Peace and Safety? Wouldn’t that rather be at the beginning when the Anti-Christ (the man of peace) makes a peace treaty for seven years with many? 

I’d also ask since some argue the Last Trump is during the Trumpets sounding; where is the Trumpet sound after the sixth seal? No trumpets are even given then, nor are any alluded to.

The Day of the Lord vs. the Rapture

The Day of the Lord is not the rapture, instead what we are still expecting is a time period which encompasses more than just one day and starts again after the rapture. And I believe part of the Day of the Lord (His judgment) includes the entire seven years of judgment for sin seen in the last week of Daniel’s 70 x 7 prophecy (portions of which are also spoken of by multiple other prophets). And of course we see a finale at the end of the seven years and at the end of the Millennium.

We see a partial fulfillment of the Day of the Lord (or judgment) in Christ’s first coming (Acts 2:16-21). This was referencing the prophecy in Joel 2 Peter stated. The Day of the Lord is a term for the Lord’s judgment which has transpired throughout history. We are in a parentheses or a pause right now with the fullness of the Gentiles, otherwise some believe is the inclusion of Gentiles into the commonwealth of believing Israel, also known as the Church. 

But after the Rapture, the seventieth week of Daniel (seven years) will commence.  And it will start with the confirmation or signing of some sort of Peace Treaty in the Middle East. It will ramp up in intensity until His Second Coming (just as the birth pains of a woman ramp up in intensity and conclude in the birth of the child). We believe all of this after the rapture is the time of the Day of the Lord (or His judgment) that the Old and New Testament writers spoke of. The new heavens and the new earth are included in the Day of the Lord. This will not come until after the Millennium. So the Day of the Lord can reference different events in different times.

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.   1 Thess 5:2-5

Please also understand the Day of the Lord will have yet a further fulfillment after the Millennial Kingdom, see how 2 Peter 3:10 is divided up.

Right before the commencement of Daniel’s 70th week

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; (see also 1 Thess 5)

The day of the Lord is still addressed after the 1000 year Millennial Kingdom

…in 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.

Some other examples of Partial Fulfillment’s of Prophecy

See how Isaiah 61:1-2 is divided up

First coming of Christ (confirmed by Jesus in Luke 4:18-21)

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; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, (vs 1-2a)

Day of the Lord (still future events to come)

and the day of vengeance of our God; (vs 2b-keep reading in Isaiah 61)

IMPORTANT TO NOTE HERE:

PreWrath doctrine states the entire seven years of Tribulation is not God’s wrath (also known as Daniel’s 70th week – seen in Dan 9:24-27). Furthermore, even the entire Great Tribulation (the last 3-1/2 years is not God’s wrath according to them). They think the 7 year prophecy is somehow cut short (making Daniel’s prophecy unreliable if so). So somewhere around 1-1/2 years into the second half, the rapture cuts the time short and finally we see God’s wrath. But please note throughout the Word, birth pangs, a woman’s travail and the things we see mentioned in the seals (i.e. death by sword, death by beast, killing, famine, pestilence) are all part of His wrath, anger, or fury upon UNBELIEVERS. And specifically upon non-believing Israel in this instance, to purify and refine the rebels. And as in the passage above in Isaiah, this day is noted as His vengeance. And in the Luke 21 Olivet discourse account, we see again that the Great Tribulation is definitely identified as His vengeance as well.

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her (midpoint of the Tribulation-Dan 9:27).  For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Luke 21:20-21

All what things? Jesus was just speaking of Daniel’s prophecy, so it must be the entire seven years that are included. At the very least, we know that the rapture could NOT happen after the midpoint, if we understand that it’s vengeance (which belongs to the Lord).

In prophecies, we look for different things. There can be dual references (such as Israel/Christ, David/Christ, Solomon/Messiah, several Antichrists, etc.)  Or we can see more than one fulfillment of a passage in different time periods, such as a near and a far/future fulfillment.  Or as you see above in the passages, there can be a partial fulfillment of a prophecy with a final or fulfillment to come.  This may also include another fulfillment in between.  An example might be Antiochus Epiphanes as an antichrist setting up an abomination in the temple, and then we see Titus in A.D. 70 as another abomination, and yet we have an ultimate fulfillment in the final Antichrist. 

There is no time to go into the entire explanation of the many types of prophecies, but I suggest you start by looking to see in passages if an ultimate fulfillment has already transpired or if we are still expecting a future event.  Follow up with the cross references on the particular passage and study it out.

The Church is not appointed to Wrath

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.   I Thess 5:9-11

And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.  I Thess 1:10

In this chapter of 1 Thessalonians 5, verses 1-8 addresses the Day of the Lord (His judgment upon unbelievers).  It contrasts the saved, and the unsaved.  Believers will not be present for His wrath during The Day of the Lord.  So how long is the ‘Day of the Lord’? Post-tribbers think it is a literal day.

Both positions agree that wrath is not for the church, but we disagree on the time the wrath starts.  I believe we see several fulfillments or partial fulfillments of the cosmic signs seen throughout Revelation.  We also saw cosmic signs in the first coming of Christ (the earthquakes and stars falling and moon not giving light).

I agree that this passage below happens at the end of the seven years of tribulation, but I do not see this event as the rapture.  The cosmic signs are spoken of throughout the OT, and have more than one fulfillment throughout time, (please also see Joel 2:28-31, also referenced as having some fulfillment in Acts 2:19-20. Revelation has several places with cosmic signs and several with earthquakes, then we see a final fulfillment at the end of the Millennium (2 Pet 3:10).

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  Matt 24:29-31

But I see the gathering of the elect (above) as addressing the second gathering of Israel to her land and to her Messiah.  It may include believing Gentiles, but I don’t believe this particular gathering happens at the rapture. 

It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea.  He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earthIsaiah 11:11-12

Pre-tribulation Rapture Foundations

Before we get to the seals and whether they are also the wrath or vengeance of God (or not), let’s look at some of differences between the rapture and the second coming. Then we will discuss those who are already in heaven before the Tribulation even begins.

Differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming

Consider the differences between the rapture of the church (our gathering to Him in the clouds) and the second Coming of Christ. There is also a difference between the coming of the Lord for His Saints and the Second Coming of the Lord with His saints (Jude 14). Several scholars through time have compiled comparison charts, so I’m going to include some Scriptures for you to consider. Lord willing I’ll be able to lay an orderly foundation over time for those who wish to consider whether the Pre-tribulation Rapture Position is a sound one.

At the rapture all believers shall be changed (given resurrection bodies).  If this happens at the end of the seven years, then who is it who will procreate in the Millennial Kingdom? 

The Mystery of the Rapture

The rapture is also a mystery.  The Second coming is not a mystery, but was prophesied in the OT.  Please check the chart I made of the differences below, let me know if you need the references, (kind of hard to read)

What is the Last Trump?

WE shall all be changed at this last Trump of Christ. Many mistake the Last Trump as the Last (7th) Trumpet judgment seen in Revelation. In the chapter before 1 Corinthians 15, Paul uses the same word in vs. 8, discussing Military trumpets. WE, the church, are not living through Trumpet Judgments.  The Trumpet that sounds for the church is not a trumpet of judgment or wrath.  It is a shout for us to come to Jesus in the clouds.

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (1 Corinthians 14:8)

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 Corinthians 15:52).

As one commentator put it, “The first trumpet bade the armies to arise and be ready; the last trumpet commanded them to depart, it was the signal to march.”

A Different Trumpet

Again, we do not believe the Trumpet is the angels blowing the trumpets of Judgment in Revelation. WE believe that shout, that Trump of God is the voice of Christ the Judge, standing at the door (James 5:9), calling ‘Come up Hither’, (immediately — in the twinkling of an eye). We also believe that Revelation 4:1 is a picture of the rapture of the church seen through the eyes of John as he was immediately captured up to heaven by the voice of a trumpet.

The Lord Jesus Christ’s voice is like a Trumpet

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. 1 Cor 15:51-52

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 4:16-18

Come up Hither

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven.(Remember the Judge standing at the door in James 5:8-9.  I believe we see symbolism in the door being open to heaven).

…and the first voice which I heard was as it were OF A TRUMPET talking with me; which said, COME UP HITHER(I believe this is the SHOUT, the last TRUMP calling us up into heaven)

And I will shew thee things which must be hereafter: (Remember, the ‘hereafter’was yet future for John and all of us).

And IMMEDIATELY I was in the spirit (rapture).

And, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne (Revelation 4:1-2a, see also  Revelation 1:10-11a).

For a point of interest, please also see another picture of the rapture or gathering together TO Christ of the two witnesses in Revelation 11 who died and rose again (just as we have in Christ). Please also note the phrase ‘Come up Hither’ basically means to ‘ascend’ to ‘this place’. That place being to Christ in Heaven. This is the only other place the phrase ‘come up hither’ is used in Revelation besides Revelation 4:1. Jesus ascended up into heaven, we too shall ascend the same way.  We see the two witnesses being gathered to Him in the clouds with the same exact wording and in the same way we will be raptured.

And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they >>>ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.  Rev 11:12

Thanks for taking the time to read.  If you have questions, please let me know. Regardless of your timing position and who is right or not, do you know for sure if you will see Him as one of His one day? Most especially if you are unsure of where you would go if you died today.  We are not promised tomorrow.  Want to know more?

PART 3 – CLICK HERE

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8 Responses to “Rapture Timing Pt. 2

  • Jeffrey Barouch
    1 year ago

    This is an excellent piece. I have one minor point to suggest: according to the position of progressive revelation ( as time progresses the people have a greater understanding. of the outworking of God’s plan for mankind) a “mystery” is something previously hidden, which is now revealed. Example: O.T. saints had only a partial understanding of their Messiah (Meshiach), who appeared during the period of the Gospels, giving N.T. saints greater understanding of his character.

    • Thanks Jeffrey, that’s in there somewhere in my future writings, I have multiple parts pre-written, but not perfected yet. I bring the thinking of only one coming, and the possibility of the mystery being foretold (even though a lot of pre-tribbers don’t think so) in Is 26:19-21 which timing doesn’t line up with Daniel 12 (resurrection first then the Lord comes out of His place in Is 26). Anyways, so much to cover, hard to know where to stop, but thank you for commenting and let me know as you go along what you think might be shared. Part 3 will be out as soon as I decide where to cut it off 🙂

  • Many in the church do not understand that Rev is mostly about Israel (as well as the Gentile (heathen) nations. Sadly, many mix Israel with the Church (body of Christ). The tribulation is the time when God will deal with the Jews and a one third remnant will be saved and go into the Millennial kingdom. We cannot leave Israel out of the equation. God is not done with them and His promises to them are still binding. So many now preach replacement theology and wrongly teach that the Church has replaced Israel and that all of God’s promises to Israel were transferred to the Church. Wrong!

    • I agree with you. Prewrath is fairly new (even if the teachers of it try to say differently). I know people try to say the same with pre-trib, or the rapture in general, I think when we study Revelation, as His Word says, we will be blessed.

      I also agree there are many replacement theology churches, especially within a lot in the reformed religion. Voddie Baucham is one who is blatant about it.

      Thanks again for dropping by.

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