The study of the rapture is quite a fascinating subject. For years I just figured that the rapture took place at the end of the tribulation, thinking that God would not take us out of here until we all went through some severely hard times. We have seen Christians in the Middle East and around the world suffer great persecution in recent years, while here in the US and other places it has been relatively tranquil. The more I have looked into the rapture over the last few years, the more I am coming to the conclusion that there could actually be two raptures and not just one as most theologians teach. There are generally three main arguments when talking about the subject of the rapture. One is that it happens before the tribulation begins (aka pre tribulation), the second is that it happens at around the midpoint of the tribulation (aka mid tribulation), and the third is that it happens at the end of the tribulation (aka post tribulation). Out of the three theories the one that seems the weakest and has little evidence to support it I believe is the mid tribulation rapture, so I am not going to talk about it here. After looking at this for a while, I have found that both the pre-tribulation and post tribulation theories have very good arguments. While most people tend to get in their corners on this as well as many other subjects related to the bible and end times’ prophecy, I have tried to look at both sides of the discussion and see where the evidence leads. I find that when someone has a strong belief on something like this, they tend to only look at evidence that supports their belief and not at the evidence against it or dismiss that evidence if they do.
Over recent days and weeks I have come to the conclusion that there is a very good chance that two raptures take place and not just one. In this report I am going to take a look at the evidence for the rapture happening in the pre tribulation time frame and also near the end of the tribulation, before the last 7 bowl judgments take place, but after most of the events in revelation takes place. I think I can show enough evidence to make a good argument that both events could actually take place and not just one.
The pre-tribulation rapture is the idea that Jesus comes back for his people, just before the tribulation gets started here on earth. The doctrine is that the tribulation is going to be the worst 7 year period in human history and most people will not survive until the conclusion, so Jesus will come down from the clouds and snatch his people away, before they have to go through all the hardships that will happen during this period. I used to think this would never happen, because God wants to test Christians to make sure they are faithful to him even through the hardest of times. While Jesus can certainly protect his people, he is not going to take us all away from here to keep us from prosecution and the bible is full of examples where God brings people through tribulation, but not around it so to speak. Some of these accounts include the story of Noah and the Flood, Joseph and the famine in Egypt, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who God brought through the fiery furnace, the Israelites during the plagues in Egypt, and during the 40 years of wondering in the wilderness, and many more. God never took any of these people out of the tribulation of their day, but brought them right on through it and protected them in the process. So why would Jesus take his people out of the earth before the tribulation begins, instead of just protecting them or at least keep them from being forced over to Satan’s side during it? God has not taken the Christians out of the Middle East who are being killed every day by Isis and other terrorist groups right now and they are suffering great prosecution. I started to think maybe this is more of an American theory anyway, because things here in this country are still relatively calm, while in other places of the world it is chaotic. People in America tend to think nothing bad is ever going to happen to them and thus God will surely save them from tribulation to come.
While I believed that the rapture would not happen until the end of the tribulation, I did not have the evidence to back up what I was thinking, so I started to study it. I read a couple of books on the subject, many articles, and have watched many videos of famous preachers and non famous ones talk about this subject. Many of the rapture versus could actually be interpreted in two different ways that could equate to the pre or post tribulation raptures, by simply how you define certain words. For instance 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 says “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”. That is interpreted in two ways depending on which rapture camp you are in. The pre-tribulation rapture people say that the falling away means harpazo in Greek meaning snatching up or taken out. They look at this as Jesus coming down and taking away his bride (meaning people that truly follow him) before the Antichrist is revealed on earth. The post tribulation camp sees the words falling away as the church leaving its roots and not following Gods laws, morals, or commandments anymore throughout for the duration of the tribulation period. The pre-tribulation folks point to the fact that the church is not mentioned at all from Revelation 4 through 19 meaning they were taken out. The post tribulation group believes God does not mention the church because his people have turned their back on him and they have to learn to trust him again through all the judgments.
1st Corinthians 5:52 says “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed”. The pre tribulation rapture group believes that happens during the feast of trumpets after the last trumpet is blow and Jesus comes down to take true bible believing Christians away at that point. The post tribulation crowd believes the last trump happens after the 7th trumpet judgment in revelation. What if both groups are right in a way, meaning that Jesus comes down and raptures the true God fearing Christians before the tribulation and then comes back to take the rest of Christians who professed their life to him, but were living in sin, near the end of the judgments, but before the final bowl judgments take place talked about in Revelation 16. I think there is good evidence to support both claims here.
The strongest argument for the pre-tribulation rapture in my opinion is in Luke 17: 34-37 where it says “I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in a field; the one taken the other will be left”. Also Matthew 24: 40 says “Then shall two be in a field, the one shall be taken and the other left”. We know that the tribulation period will be anything, but normal and so to have people enjoying themselves doing normal every day things will probably not be happening at the end of the tribulation. This is good evidence in my opinion that supports the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine theory. More good evidence is found in the letters to the 7 churches located in Revelation 3:10 where it says “Because you have kept my word of patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the entire world, to test those who dwell on the earth”. This is the only one of the 7 letters where it says that the Church of Philadelphia will be kept from the hour of trial upon the entire world. Most pre-tribulation scholars equate this verse to these specific people being taken out, so they do not have to go through the tribulation period as a reward for being faithful servents. The specific group being talked about are the only people doing just about everything right in the Lords eyes, minus normal mistakes that we all make at times. There are other versus as well that would seem to suggest there is a pre-tribulation rapture coming, at least for the Christians that are doing their best to follow God and obey his commandments as best they can.
The best evidence for the post tribulation rapture in my opinion is found in 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17 which says “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 who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not proceed those who are asleep.” Many people think this is evidence of the pre-tribulation rapture, but I disagree. I even heard Jack Van Impe talk about this one time and he is a pre-tribulation rapture guy. This is clearly at or near the end of the tribulation, because it says the dead shall rise first. We know that our bodies are not needed in heaven only our spirits, but we need our bodies to survive and be able to function here on earth. When Jesus comes down to set up his 1,000 year millennial reign, we will all get our bodies back in order to be here with him for that 1,000 year time period. This will be the time that we will need our bodies again, so Jesus will raise them up at the end of the tribulation. There are some religions that believe when each of us dies that our spirit and body go into the ground and essentially sleep until Jesus comes back, and will use this verse as evidence to support their claim. This does not make much sense, however since Jesus told the two criminals on the cross next to him during the crucifixion, that they would be in paradise with him today and not some future time after a long nap. We also know from numerous people who have had near death experiences, that right after death they either go to heaven or hell depending on what you believe. If this verse is referring to the pre-tribulation rapture it would not make sense that Jesus would come down and give everyone’s body back to them, if they are going to be hanging out in heaven for the next 7 years. But it does make sense that this would happen at the end of the tribulation where we will all need our bodies again to live here for 1,000 years. The verse also talks about those who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep. The alive and remain part in my opinion suggests that people have gone through a long period of tribulation/prosecution and most did not survive. We also know that the coming of the Lord is also known as the “Day of the Lord” which is the start of his 1,000 year reign no earth. One day is as a thousand years and one thousand years is as a day it says in 2nd Peter 3:8. Another verse that is good evidence for the post tribulation rapture doctrine is 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 that says “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”. Forget for a minute about that the falling away part could mean either a pre or post tribulation doctrine as I explained earlier, but just focus on the section, that talks about the man of sin being revealed. We know that the anti-Christ (man of sin) is not fully revealed to the world as who he really is until the midpoint of the tribulation during the Abomination of Desolation, so this part of the verse is saying that the rapture will not occur until after that point and closer to the end of the tribulation. The pre-tribulation crowd says of course that the falling away happens first (Harpazo) then the anti-Christ is revealed, but the post tribulation group looks at it the opposite way. Matthew 24: 29-31 says “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.” Right at the start of this verse it says immediately after the tribulation of those days, which would seem to me too mean at the end of the 7 year tribulation period.
Although, none of us know for sure how this is all going to play out, I am coming more to the conclusion every day that there could very well be two rapture events that take place. The first would be right before the tribulation starts and would actually kick off the tribulation itself. If millions of people suddenly disappear one day, there would be chaos around the world and it would be the perfect time for the anti-Christ to come onto the scene to restore order to the world. After that we would go through the 7 year tribulation period with the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, the abomination of desolation, the mark of the beast being implemented, Israel rebuilding the third temple, and many of the other things talked about that is going to happen during the worst 7 year period in human history. Near the end of the tribulation Jesus would come back one more time and gather up the rest of the Christians who professed their allegiance to him during the tribulation period. He would also gather up all of our bodies from the earth in preparation for the 1,000 year millennial reign. After that he would pour out the final bowl judgments, which are his direct wrath on the earth, defeat Satan and send him back to the fiery lake for 1,000 years until afterward he would be released again for a short period to terrorize the earth one last time. Once Satan is out of the way Jesus will set up and start his 1,000 year reign on earth and all of his believers will live under his rule, during that time and for the rest of eternity for that matter. We would all get our bodies back for this period of time back on earth.
Instead of us being split on this issue it is best to embrace it and realize that both sides might be right about what they believe in regards to this subject called the rapture. Of course none of us know for sure what will happen until it actually takes place. The most important thing each and everyone one of us can do is acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and died on the cross to forgive us of our sins. Believe in him and ask him to come into your life in order to turn away from sin and repent for what you did wrong in the past and will do wrong in the future. Believe it in your heart and confess it with your mouth. After that the next best thing is to present as much information as you can to others and offer them the chance to do the same thing. Pray for others and seek God’s guidance and wisdom each day. Do not ever try to force anyone into doing anything, but present the information in a loving and kind way, then let them make their own choice. If you look at all the events happening around the world right now, we are getting close to the end of days at least as things stand today, so there is not a lot of time left to make that choice.
If you have decided to make that choice today after reading this article, please pray this prayer and complete the job. There is no right or wrong way to say it, but here is one of the shorter versions.
I am a sinner. Please forgive me. Come into my life and cleanse me of my sins and unbelief. I believe in you and in salvation through the blood of Jesus. I turn from sin and trust in Jesus alone as my savior. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
If you prayed that and truly meant it, welcome to the kingdom. Please try to find others you can tell, who also know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and find a church or group of believers you can learn and fellowship with as soon as possible, so you can learn more and start your new life in Christ Jesus on the right foot. Things will not automatically change overnight in your life, but over time you will notice positive changes and have urges to turn away from sins, you may not have even realized were wrong things to be doing.
God Bless You
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