The Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church: My Journey From Pessimism To Optimism, by the Word of God

… Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:16-17

INTRODUCTION

When I started this blog five years ago, I promised myself never to write about eschatology because it seemed to be one of the few biblical topics where “certainty” could not be found. My view on the certainty of this issue has changed dramatically in the past few years, to the point where I decided to address it with the written word of God. My mind was changed primarily by the fact that, during my usual, daily Bible reading, I continued to come across scripture that seemed to point to a “catching away” of the church prior to the seven year tribulation period. In fact, as I continued to stumble upon these scriptures and combine them with the vague ones I was aware of, what once was blurry suddenly became clear.

Although the timing of the rapture would not affect my career as a street evangelist or my perspective on how to approach my daily life for Christ, I decided to dig in to the issue about seven years ago. Although I have listened to several sermons on the topic and have reviewed outlines and charts, it was pure scripture that had the most significant impact on my change of position. I continued running into verses and passages that pointed to the removal of the church before the Lamb ripped open the first seal in Revelation 6:1. Make no mistake about it, every second of the hell unleashed on earth comes directly from the throne of God, although I will address mid-tribulation, (aka pre-wrath) in this article, and the Darby issue (some say he invented pre-tribulation rapture doctrine) at the end of this article. I am not pretending to reinvent the wheel. I am simply explaining its construction as I understand it.

WHY I AM A PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE BELIEVER

From the moment I heard about some sort of rapture for believers, and the debate about it (pre, post or mid tribulation), I took the side of the post tribbers. Why? Because I was an extreme pessimist, and I did not like or respect the televangelists who were loudly and obnoxiously yelling (or selling books) about the rapture and seemed to want an easy escape from the life of luxury they were leading. Little did I know that many respectable pastors and teachers were also pre trib, and could support that view with the word of God. While I read literature from a few of these men, I wasn’t truly convinced until my own, independent study of scripture continually pointed to the church being protected from the wrath of the Lamb, which begins in Revelation 6:1, when Jesus opens the first seal of the seven-sealed book…and unleashes death and hell.

Rather than structure this post as an essay, I thought it would make more sense to simply number the verses/passages that had the most impact on my now, unassailable view of the catching away, and explain them, if necessary. This is by no means exhaustive, or even scholarly. It is simply one man’s uncomplicated explanation of a complex subject.

1) “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 on the earth. ” Revelation 3:10 KJV

This verse, based on its context and wording, seems to be the most convincing pre-tribulation verse in all of scripture (especially when coupled with the three Old Testament scriptures, which I will quote below). At the beginning of Revelation chapter 3, Jesus is addressing the one true church (Philadelphia), meaning the church that was/is pursuing the God of the Bible with purity and integrity. Jesus is speaking to them regarding the future that will come upon “all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.” There is only one such trial in the history of humanity, and it hasn’t yet happened. It is the great tribulation, and in Revelation 3:10 (and several other verses) we are clearly told that those who are in Christ will be safe during that hellish period. Based on what Paul teaches us about the “mystery” of being translated into heaven in the twinkling of an eye, it is clear that Revelation 3:10 and meeting the Lord in the air are the same event.

Three Old Testament passages express the same message of protection during the day of the Lord’s wrath.

“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.Zephaniah 2:3 KJV

“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. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Isaiah 26:20-21 KJV**While several commentators say that this scripture applies to all those saved by faith at the endof the church age, whether Jew or gentile, at least one says it that it only applies to the Jews in the second half of the tribulation. However, I don’tsee any reference to His people going through. 3.5 years of hell on earth before he calls them into his chamber. Regardless, this passage clearly show the intent of God to shield those saved in the church age, from violence in the day of his wrath.

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” Psalms 27:5 KJV** This appears to be a prophecy of the tribulation since David speaks of “the” time of trouble rather than a personal, “my” time of trouble.

2) Noah and Lot were taken from places of violent, heavenly judgment, to safety, by the direct hand of God, moments before His vengeance was unleashed. Likewise, the Israelites in Goshen were divinely protected from the plagues that came upon Egypt in the days of Moses. Fortunately, Jesus made it clear that the church will have the same protection in the tribulation, although that doesn’t preclude violent persecutions from Satan and his minions prior to the tribulation period, as we see in many parts of the world today:

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.…” Luke 17:26-30 KJV

Since the circumstances at the time of the rapture will be as it was in the days of Noah (with people eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage), then the rapture couldn’t be at the end of the tribulation, when the world is effectively destroyed by war, famine, poisoned water, stinging locusts and the fiery judgements of God. This passage makes it clear that the rapture will happen in a time of peace and normalcy, and thus, it would rule out the time at the end of the tribulation. See also, 1 Thessalonians 5:3

Jesus makes the exact same point He made in Luke 17:26-30 (above), a few chapters later, when He was explaining what to expect during the tribulation period. He specifically notes that some will escape that awful, violent event:

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:36 KJV

3) On multiple occasions Paul teaches us that we (the church) are not appointed to God’s wrath. Paul and his companions were severely beaten, stoned, imprisoned, and even martyred. Thus, Paul never taught us that we wouldn’t suffer severe persecution or even be murdered, for the name of Jesus Christ. Paul simply stated a fact: God will not pour out His personal wrath on His bride. As previously noted, Lot and Noah are perfect examples of this principle in action. Paul taught:

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 5:9

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Ephesians 5:6 (See also, Colossians 5:6)

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 KJV

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ….” 1 Thessalonians 5:9

… Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:16-17

Clearly, everything that happens to the world in Revelation flows directly from God’s throne, making it His wrath, not Satan’s. It begins in Revelation 5, when all of heaven seeks one worthy to open the seven sealed book and unleash hell on earth. Only the Lamb, Jesus, is found worthy, and in Revelation 6:1, it is Jesus, not Satan, who rips the first seal off of the book, and sends the horsemen to earth. As a further confirmation of this analysis, at the end of chapter 6, it states with great clarity:

16… 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?” Revelation 6:16-17

The two verses quoted above are indisputable. It is God who initiates and controls the tribulation period, not Satan, as pre-wrath/mid-tribbers claim. Every second of it is the wrath of the Lamb, and just like we see on a few occasions in the Old Testament, God uses demonic forces to execute His judgement on mankind. It is God alone who orders the opening of the bottomless pit and allows Apollyon and the locust-like creatures to torment the world. God has planned every minute of the tribulation and he warned John (and us) exactly how it will go down. The wrath of the Lamb will not touch believers – ever. He bore that wrath for us in his body on the cross. 1 Peter 2:21-24

4) If the “catching away” (aka the rapture), is truly a “mystery” per Paul (1 Cor. 15:51-52), and if it comes “as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2), then we could never know exactly when it’s going to happen. Since Daniel 9:24-27, teaches us that the tribulation period is exactly 7 years (divided into two 3 1/2 year segments), then the timing of the rapture would be known to anyone with a Bible. Thus, it would not come as a thief in the night, and it most certainly wouldn’t be a mystery. Furthermore, 1 Thessalonians 5:3 states that immediately after the rapture of verse 2, the world proclaims “peace and safety” not realizing that the unmitigated violence of Revelation 6…is about to be unleashed:

“2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 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.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3

It is also important to note that, while the concept of protection for the faithful during the day of the Lord’s anger was hinted about in the Old Testament (Psalm 27:5; Isaiah 26:20-21; Zephaniah 2:3), the return of the Lord in flaming judgement at the end of days, was no mystery. David, Isaiah, and Zechariah (among others) spoke of it in clear terms. We were even told that the Messiah would set His feet on the ground at the end of days. (Job 19:25; Zechariah 14:4) Therefore, the “mystery” that Paul speaks of, could not be the return of Christ at the end of the seven year tribulation period, because it was never a secret.

5) At the time of the rapture, we meet the Lord in the air, and are with him forever (1Thess. 4:17). That is entirely different from the angels coming down from heaven and gathering the remaining believers from the corners of the earth (Mark 13:27). Furthermore, as noted in the previous section, at the end of the tribulation, Jesus comes down to earth to deal with the Jews at the Mount of Olives, per Zechariah 14:4.

6) The tribulation period is specifically referred to as the time of “Jacob’s trouble,” meaning that it is specifically designed to deal with the unsaved, rebellious Jews. It is not the time of the “church’s trouble.” Although many will be saved during that horrific period, the church will not face the wrath designed by God for Israel. Jesus bore that violence for us on the cross. 1 Peter 2:21-25

7) In Titus 2:11-13, we re told to look for the “blessed hope,” the “glorious appearing” of our Savior, Jesus. We are not told to watch for: war, famine, demonic locusts, the destruction of all plant life, a flesh-scorching sun, poisoned rivers, a darkened sky, the rule of the antichrist and the death of 1/4, then 1/3 of mankind, first, thankfully:

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ….” Titus 2:11-13 (See also, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, which mentions waiting for His return, with no warning regarding nearly a decade of unfettered supernatural violence first)

If all of the judgements of Revelation are supposed to come to earth while the church is present, then Paul was a terrible teacher and was at best, grossly negligent in failing to warn future generations of Bible readers what to expect. Paul was always careful to teach the church about the bitter persecutions we will face on earth, but never once did he indicate that we would have to go through the supernatural violence of the tribulation before the glorious appearing of our savior. Instead, Paul treated it as mystery, and something to be excited and hopeful about. No believer would be excited to sit through seven years of fire, blood, murder, stinging locusts, starvation via the mark of the beast, and the tyrannical rule of the antichrist. I trust Paul implicitly, therefore, I believe we will be raptured before the seven year tribulation period.

John 14:1-6 further supports this position. Jesus, while comforting his disciples, says, without equivocation that, after he departs, he will come back to earth and receive his followers unto himself. He gives no warning that they have to make it through of 7 years of death and hell first. If we had to survive the tribulation, then Jesus was not being honest with his precious flock, and that isn’t who Jesus is:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
‭‭J
ohn‬ ‭14:1-6‬ ‭KJV‬‬

8) The first three chapter of Revelation are all about the church, and are only about the church. At the beginning of chapter 4, John, more than likely the only apostle alive at the time, has his spirit taken up and into heaven by God in order for him to watch the tribulation unfold in safety. The church is never mentioned again after John goes up, thus, the church is not mentioned at all as heaven prepares for seven years of judgment on the earth. The fact that the church isn’t mentioned one time during the tribulation (like, as an exception to the 1/3 of the world population that gets annihilated at one point), seems to be a clear indication that the church will not be there during that time frame. The fact that John is safely in heaven watching it all take place, seems to be an additional hint that the church will be safely in heaven during that dark time.

9) Matthew 16:18 is another verse that points to the church body being gone during the tribulation. In this verse, Jesus makes it crystal clear – as long as the church exists on earth, it will NOT won’t be overcome:

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

This is an important point because we see In both Daniel 7:21, and Revelation 13:7, that during the tribulation period, the antichrist makes war with the saints and defeat them:

“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them Daniel 7:21

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” Revelation 13:7

Jesus made it clear: His church will never be defeated. Therefore, the saints who are killed en masse, during the tribulation, are clearly post-church age believers, who came to salvation during the time of Jacob’s trouble. There can be no other explanation given the clear and direct words of Jesus In Matthew 16:18 regarding the impregnability of the church.

Jesuses comforting words to his disciples in John 14:1-6 (quoted in full, under point 7) confirms this as well. Jesus would never say to them “Let not your hearts be troubled…” as he promises them a time when he will gather us all unto himself to take us home forever, if all (or most of us) are brutally killed just prior to that event (during the tribulation). Jesus doesn’t even hint that we will be subjected to worldwide plagues and violent destruction in that beautiful, hopeful passage. I am fully convinced that Jesus and Paul had so much tender love for the church that they both would have warned us, clearly, of any specific dangers that we might face before we reach the finish line.

EPILOGUE

One of the worst slanders against pre-tribbers, is that we, ignorantly and blindly, expect to avoid persecution for our faith despite the fact that the apostles, and believers today (all over the world), have been and are being brutally tortured and killed for Jesus Christ. I am well aware of that fact, and I expect that here in the United States, we will see an ever-increasing amount of violence and hatred towards Christianity in the very near future. I accept that, and in some ways, welcome it, seeing what our Lord suffered for us as his enemies gloated and viciously mocked Him on the cross. What I won’t believe, ever again, is that Christians will be the victims of God’s personal wrath. Those saved by faith in the God of the Bible weren’t subject to His wrath in the age of Abraham, Lot, or even in the days of Noah. That is not how He related to his beloved children then or now, and for that, I am most certainly grateful.

***Was Darby the first christian to teach the pre tribulation rapture of the church?(see link, below)***

What Did the Early Church Believe About the Rapture?

Other Articles by the Author of this blog:

Hell And The Wrath of God

Confronting Sin: Loving Our Brothers And Sisters In Truth

The Danger of Ecumenism: Part 1

Boldness For The Lord In These Final Days

Prayer: Approaching God On His Terms

11 thoughts on “The Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church: My Journey From Pessimism To Optimism, by the Word of God

  1. I concur with – and thank you for your comments about the pre-Tribulation ‘Rapture’ of the “little flock” of “the Lord Jesus” of those people from all around the world who truly are the Biblically known “peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:13 ~AV) ~ “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15)
    .
    If you are interested I have a large text file that I have made over the last several years about the pre-Tribulation Rapture that I can email to you – it has some Bible references you may be interested in.
    If you are I’ll need an email address – Bro. Nick

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was exactly what I was looking for to help my aunt understand not only that there will be a rapture, but a pre-trib rapture at that. You have some great proof here. Thank you again for taking the time to write this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Im glad you are writing again. I have never left a comment before, but you have really helped me with your past posts. I truly believe in the pre-trib rapture. His coming is imminent. Post tribbers cannot say His coming is imminent, which scripture clearly points to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I try not to write unless something is really on my heart, to the point where I can’t not write about it. Hopefully, the Lord will give me some more issues to address with scripture. Thanks again for those Berry nice words.

      Like

  3. I’m also glad your writing again. I have never commented before, but I have read a lot of your articles. I have been greatly helped by many of your articles. I am definently pre-trib. I believe the Bible teaches His return is imminent, and can happen at any moment. His return will not be imminent if it’s at the end of the 7 year time. With all the signs and destruction earth will be enduring then, and as soon as the armies of the world start marching toward Megiddo, it won’t be long then and a person would know when He will come, and it would not be imminent. Just my thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is an excellent thought and thanks for the encouragement to write. I do my best to only write if I feel a strong push from the Lord so that I know what I’m writing is solid from a doctrinal standpoint. I will continue to pray that he leads me to publish articles that would encourage the brethren, just as you have encouraged me tonite. Thank you, and I look forward to meeting you on the other side. ✝️

      Like

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