Does the bible really teach us that the rapture is the church being rescued by Jesus from a 7 year tribulation?
Actually, the rapture or a seven year tribulation is not mentioned in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation shows the church going through a 3 1/2 year persecution by a beast. This is a modern interpretation. In order to obtain truth, we need to be willing to sacrifice cherished traditions on the alter of scriptural revelation. This is what we will propose in this article.
The book of Revelation was given with a specific warning to 7 churches of what would soon take place. Within this book of the bible a solemn promise is given that Jesus will stand with them and reward them for their trials and tribulations. The book of Revelation is written for us but not written to us.
Why would God choose one generation to be saved from persecutions and all of the other generations to suffer through them? It is great a privilege to suffer for Christ.
Here are some verses in the bible that leads some to believe is applicable to the rapture.
Revelation 4:12 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
This is not the rapture. It says come up here and I will show YOU (meaning John) what must take place after this. John is taken in the Spirit and receives a vision in heaven.
Some also believe that Revelation 3:10-12 is the rapture.
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.
In Revelation 3:11-12 Jesus tells them to hold on so that no one can take their crown so they can overcome and be rewarded. This was a personable letter given to the church of Philadelphia, it wasn’t written to us, instead it was written for us.
Is the rapture in the Olivet Discourse?
Some also believe that Matthew 24:31 is the rapture
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his ELECT from the four winds,from one end of the heavens to the other.
This is not the rapture either. Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that the ELECT are the chosen Jews that God saved during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. 1.1 million Jews were killed during the siege on Jerusalem and 97 000 people were taken captives.
These verses are during this conflict that was in their future and in our past.
1.Mark 13:20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the ELECT, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them
2.Luke 21:24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
3.Matthew 24:22-24 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the ELECT those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the ELECT
The ones taken in Matthew 24:40-41 are not raptured either, they are taken in judgment.
Matthew 24:36-41 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
In Noah’s time it was better to be left than to be taken.
In verse 39, the flood came and took them away. They are taken in judgment and the people were killed by the flood. The ones left behind were on the ark safe and sound. The ones in Noah’s day are taken away just like the ones in verse 40-41 are taken away. They are taken away in judgment. I want to be left behind safe and secure.
What did Paul teach us that the rapture is for? When it would occur?
There are two main teaching by Paul on the rapture,the first one is:
1.1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Here is a great summary of the modern interpretation of the rapture in Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 3 by Ben Witherington.
The second example that is used is in 1st Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 15:35-58 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a lifegiving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
There is also no mention of a tribulation upon the earth or a persecution upon the saints after these events. Paul tells us that the rapture is only for changing of our bodies so we can enter heaven. Paul also says that this happens at the last trumpet. The last trumpet is the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11:15.The number seven means completeness to God, the completeness of Gods wrath is finished. Remember there was also a trumpet in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
Back to Revelation
Revelation 11:15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
The voices say that Jesus will reign for ever and ever, not for just a 1000 years on the earth.
The 24 elders say in Revelation 11:18 say (at the seventh trumpet)
The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
The time has come for judging the dead and rewarding your servants and for destroying the earth. The judging the dead happens in Revelation 20:12 after Satan is defeated and cast into hell which is after the 1000 years.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
The destroying of the ones who destroyed the earth is in Revelation 20:15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 22:12-13 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Jesus says here that when he comes he will reward us and give to each person according to what they have done. Jesus does this on the judgment day in Revelation chapter 20. Jesus also says that he is the beginning and the end, Jesus made the earth in the beginning and will come at the end. I believe that the rapture is at the end of Satan’s release right before he is cast into hell. The 1000 years is not what most people think. The bible does not say that the 1000 years is a time of peace or on the earth because Satan is bound from doing any evil. There is no mention Jesus being on the earth during the 1000 years in the book of Revelation. I believe that we are in the 1000 years now, and possibly in the time of Satan’ release. The 1000 year reign and the 1000 year binding start, and end, at different times in Revelation 20. The binding starts in verse 2 and ends in verse 7. The reign starts in verse 4 and ends in verse 11 & 12 verse 5 tells us this. The 1000 year reign ends after Satan is released defeated and cast into hell. Satan is only bound by deceiving the nations because of the message of the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I believe that this study shows us that the rapture is at the end of Satan’s little season at the 7th trumpet right before Jesus destroys the earth. So lets spread the word now because there is no chance after the rapture as some people believe there is. They believe that the rapture will be the proof that Jesus is real and convince there unsaved friends who Jesus is.
Remember these verses Jesus said in Luke 16:21-27 about the dead rich man. “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if
someone rises from the dead.’”