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Sermon No: 42202-The return of Christ and the Rapture



Gavin-Paynter/The-return-of-Christ-and-the-Rapture.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: The return of Christ and the Rapture

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 18 February 2019

Topic Groups: PROPHECY, RAPTURE, FUTURISM

Sermon synopsis: Some arguments for the Pre-Trib Rapture being a separate event to the Second Advent are:

There were 2 phases to the First Coming.
The church is not appointed to (God’s) wrath.
The church is not mentioned between Rev 3 and Rev 22:16.
The “blessed hope” versus the “Time of Jacob’s trouble”.
Who populates the Millennial earth?
There is a known day (Rapture) and an unknown day(2nd Advent), the righteous removed (Rapture) versus wicked removed (2nd Advent), the Lord himself (Rapture) versus “with the angels”.

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The word Eschatology is derived from:

the Greek Eschatos - last, referring to time 1

-ology A suffix (also derived from Greek) commonly used in English to denote a field of study

Eschatology is a part of theology concerned with the study of the Last Days or End Times.

1 "https:// www.biblestudytools.com/ lexicons/ greek/ kjv/ eschatos.html">https:// www.biblestudytools.com/ lexicons/ greek/ kjv/ eschatos.html

TIMING OF PROPHECY

While most Christians believe in the future return of Jesus, there are several areas which are hot items of debate. These include:

The timing of the Millennium

Premillennialism Amillennialism Post-Millennialism

The timing of the rapture

Pre-tribulation Mid-tribulation Post-tribulation

The timing of Bible prophecy

Futurism Preterism Historicism

4 VIEWS ON PROPHECY

Preterism

Fulfilled before 70 AD

Futurism

Historicism

Idealism

70 AD

70 AD

70 AD

PRESENT

PRESENT

PRESENT

Fulfilled across history

To be fulfilled

Perpetual fulfillment

TIMING OF PROPHECY

At times the author is:

PARTIAL PRETERIST – Places the Tribulation in the 1st century

HISTORICIST – implies that the pagan temple of Hadrian (2nd century AD) and Al Aqsa (8th century AD) is the Abomination of Desolation.

FUTURIST – Believes in a future Rapture but with no preceding Tribulation (hence presumably no future Antichrist). Yet all the early church writers (including those with links to the apostle John – like Irenaeus and Hippolytus) saw the Antichrist as a future man who would rule for 1260 days.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)

THE GREAT COMMISSION

Often people ask, “What prophetic event remains unfulfilled to prevent the return of Jesus?”

Well consider this prophecy by Jesus.

“… this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14)

UNFINISHED WORK

NOW ASK YOURSELF:

Has the gospel of the kingdom been preached in the whole world?

Have all nations heard the testimony?

1.8 billion people standing shoulder to shoulder would go around the world’s equator 38 times.

1 World Christian Trends AD 30-AD 2000

In 2007 researchers David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson estimated the number of unreached people to be 1.8 billion people. 1

Bible Translations: There are 6,800 languages with no Scripture translations and no access to the Bible. 1

1 David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson, eds., Status of Global Mission, 2006, in the Context of 20th and 21st Centuries, International Bulletin of Missionary Research (January 2006) 2 David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Trends AD 30-AD 2000: Interpreting the Annual Christian Megacensus (Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 2001)

Unreached Cities: 1,670 metropolises have not been reached with the gospel. 2

UNFINISHED WORK

10% DEDICATED CHRISTIANS

20% NOMINAL CHRISTIANS

40% HEARD, BUT NOT RESPONDED OR REJECTED

30% (VIRTUALLY NO EXPOSURE TO GOSPEL)

Approximate Percentages

UNFINISHED WORK

Jesus has not commanded us to go into “most of the world”, but into “all the world”. In Rev 7:9-10 we are told that the redeemed gathered before God’s throne consist of “every nation, tribe, people and language.”

Despite Jesus’ command to evangelize, almost one third of the world’s population (28%) – 1 in 3 people - have never even heard of his name.

So while we all look forward to the return of Jesus WE HAVE UNFINISHED WORK.

Oswald J. Smith: “We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.”

UNFINISHED WORK

There is enough evangelistic activity to reach the whole world

Enough activity for every one in the world to hear a 1-hour presentation of the Gospel every other day all year long. 1

Over 1,43 billion hours of evangelism generated by Christians every year: personal witness, radio, TV, Internet, literature, etc. 1

But this evangelistic activity is unevenly targeted:

91% of all Christian outreach/ evangelism does not target non-Christians, but targets other Christians. 2

1 Justin Long, "http:// www.momentum-mag.org/ ">www.Momentum-Mag.org, Aug. 2007 (SOURCE: World Christian Encyclopedia) 2 World Evangelization Research Centre

EVANGELISTIC ACTIVITY

Q: Which countries received the most missionaries in 2010?

MISSIONARIES RECEIVED (2010)

1 Todd M. Johnson and Kenneth R. Ross (Atlas of Global Christianity - 2009). The top 9 receiving countries were home to only 3.5% of the world’s non-Christians but received more than 34% of all international missionaries! All 9 have Christian majorities, and they were home to over 34% of the world’s Christians in 2010. They also sent almost 53% of international missionaries. 2 "http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Christianity_by_country">http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Christianity_by_country

A: The US with 32,400 sent from other nations, followed by Brazil. 1 Yet the countries with the largest Christian populations in the world are the US followed by Brazil. 2

95% of Christian workers focus on their own people!

Of the 5% who become missionaries, 80% focus on people groups which are already majority Christian and 17.5% on those who already have exposure to the gospel. Only 2.5% of missionaries are focused on the 27% of the world who are unreached.

WORLD POPULATION

FOREIGN MISSIONARIES

SOURCE: Operation World, State of the Gospel, YLG 2006, Malaysia

The Rapture

1 Thess 4:15-18 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up (Greek: harpazō) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

THE RAPTURE

Some critics of the doctrine of the Rapture allege that the word ‘rapture’ is not used in the Bible. While this is true in the English Bible, it is certainly not true of the Scriptures in Latin.

‘Rapture’, in the context of eschatology, is an English word derived from the Latin verb rapio, found in the Vulgate (i.e. Jerome’s) rendering of 1 Thess 4:17. 1

1 ...deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus. (NOTE: The root for the Latin word ‘rapiemur’ is ‘rapio’.)

RAPIO

Statue of Jerome at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Raptus 1 is Jerome’s translation of the Koine Greek word harpazō, which means “caught up”, ‘taken away”, “abduct”, “to seize, carry off by force”, “to snatch out or away”.

‘Harpazō’ is also used in Acts 8:39 where it describes the transporting of Philip suddenly from Gaza to Azotus.

Acts 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took (harpazō) Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again…

1 ‘Raptus’ is the past participle of ‘rapio’. According to Wikipedia, “The Oxford English Dictionary provides two pages describing the history of usage of the word ‘rapture’ in English. From the 17th century onwards, the word is attested as rapture with similar senses to the older form rapt. The OED provides the etymology as from Latin rapere: to seize, especially abduct; it likens the words capture and rapture. Of particular note are the various distinctions involving either literal or figurative transport of body or emotions to heaven or from one place to another on earth.”

HARPAZŌ

HAPAZŌ

Harpazō is used of Paul being caught up to the third heaven:

1 Cor 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up (harpazō) to the third heaven.

And again harpazō is used of the man-child being caught up to the throne of God:

Rev 12:5 … And her child was snatched up (harpazō) to God and to his throne.

HARPAZŌ

In similar fashion, 1 Thess 4:17 tells us that we who are still alive at the time of Jesus’ coming will be “caught up” (harpazō) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

In the Amillennial and Postmillennial views, as well as in the Post-Tribulation Premillennial position, there are no distinctions in the timing of the rapture. These views regard the Rapture as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 as either identical to the Second Coming of Jesus as described in Matthew 24:29-31, or as a meeting in the air with Jesus that immediately precedes his Second Coming to the earth. Within Premillennialism, the Pre-Tribulation position is the predominant view that distinguishes between the Rapture and Second Coming as two events. There are also two minor positions within Premillennialism that differ with regard to the timing of the rapture, the Mid-Tribulation view and the Partial Rapture view. 1

1 Wikipedia

TIMING OF THE RAPTURE

Premillennialists hold 3 main views on the timing on the Rapture (Jesus’ coming for His church)

Pre-tribulation rapture

Mid-tribulation rapture

Post-tribulation rapture

TIMING OF THE RAPTURE

POST-TRIBULATION RAPTURE

Millennium

Present age

7-year Tribulation

2nd Advent

Rapture

PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE

Millennium

2nd Advent

7-year Tribulation

Present age

Rapture

MID-TRIBULATION RAPTURE

Millennium

Present age

Rapture

3½ year Tribulation

2nd Advent

3½ year Tribulation

TIMING OF THE RAPTURE

Do the seals, trumpets, bowls happen concurrently or do the seals occur first, trumpets second, and finally the bowls? In order to solve timing problems with their view, some Post-Trib adherents claim that the bowls are the same as the trumpets and seals, simply restated. Some Pre-Tribbers adopt a similar view.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

The following scripture indicates that the bowls are unique judgments. If the bowls were the last plagues, what were the first ones – if indeed they are identical to the trumpets.

Rev 15:1 I saw in heaven another great and marvellous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.

While the 2nd, 3rd and 4th trumpets and bowls do have similarities, the others don’t. The seals have no similarity to either the trumpets or the bowls.

The view of concurrency is used to make a preconceived interpretation “fit”. It is more reasonable to see these as sequential and consecutive, which is the natural reading of the text.

THE LAST TRUMPET

Those who hold to a mid-tribulation rapture teach that the seventh trumpet of Rev 11:15 and the last trumpet of 1 Cor 15:52 and 1 Thess 4:16 are identical. But the 7th trumpet in Revelation is not the same as the last trumpet of 1 Thess. The Bible speaks of different kinds of trumpet calls:

Trumpets for gathering the people

Lev 10:1-2 The LORD said to Moses: “Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community together and for having the camps set out.

A trumpet to summon for war

Lev 10:9 When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets…

THE LAST TRUMPET

The Rapture is linked to the “LAST TRUMPET”

1 Cor 15:51-52 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—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.

Rapture (LAST TRUMPET) is a gathering trumpet

1 Thess 4:16-17 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. 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.

THE LAST TRUMPET

The 7th trumpet in Revelation is not the “last trumpet” of 1 Cor 15:51 – as the 7 trumpets are war trumpets.

Rev 8:7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

THE LAST TRUMPET

In its first 3 centuries of existence the church held clear Premillennial views and expected an impending apocalypse along with the return of Jesus. Amillennialism was popularized by Augustine in the 5th century and subsequently became the predominant view.

However some of the writings of the early Church Fathers indicate that they believed that the Church (rather than Israel) would suffer the wrath of the Antichrist. 1

It must be remembered though that the Jews of Jesus’ time (including the disciples) didn’t yet even differentiate between the First and Second Coming of Jesus until they received further clarification by Jesus. Hence the apostles ask Jesus just before his ascension, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)

1 e.g. Hippolytus of Rome

A RECENT DOCTRINE?

Some critics of Pre-Trib Rapture view maintain that the belief is a recent doctrinal development and that the doctrine or any semblance of it was unknown before the early 19th century and the writings of John Nelson Darby.

However there is an explicit extra-Biblical reference to the Pre-Trib rapture in a document (Pseudo-Ephraem) dated between 374-627 AD.

For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.

A RECENT DOCTRINE?

The rise in belief in the ‘Pre-Tribulation’ rapture is often wrongly attributed to a 15-year old Scottish-Irish girl named Margaret McDonald, who in 1830 had a vision of the end times which describes a Post-Tribulation view 1 of the Rapture that was first published in 1840. 2

Scottish minister, Edward Irving (1792–1834) 3 taught a two-phase return of Christ, the first phase being a secret rapture prior to the rise of the Antichrist. 4

1 It was published again in 1861 but two important sentences demonstrating Post-Tribulation were removed… The two removed sentences were, “This is the fiery trial which is to try us. - It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus” and “The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept”. 2 Wikipedia (Rapture) citing “Margaret MacDonald’s Complete Vision” ("http:// www.bibleprophesy.org/ vision.htm">http:// www.bibleprophesy.org/ vision.htm) 3 Irving is generally regarded as the main figure behind the foundation of the Catholic Apostolic Church. 4 SOURCE: Wikipedia (Rapture)

19TH CENTURY ORIGIN?

DISPENSATIONALISM

John Nelson Darby, founder of the Plymouth Brethren, is regarded by many as the father of modern Dispensationalism.

Darby’s view of a Pre-Tribulation rapture was accepted among many other Plymouth Brethren in England. The Brethren Movement impacted American Christianity, primarily through their writings. 1

John Nelson Darby (1800-1882)

1

Noah

Government

2

Moses

Law

3

Aaron

Priesthood

4

Kingly

Manasseh

5

Spirit

Gentile

1 Ibid

DISPENSATIONALISM

Dispensationalism is a view that biblical history is best understood as a series of dispensations, or separated time-periods. Each dispensation is said to represent a different way in which God deals with man.

C. I. Scofield explains, “Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment—marking his utter failure in every dispensation.”

Along with Dispensationalism came the belief in a Pre-Tribulation rapture.

DISPENSATIONALISM

This view holds to a very literal interpretation of Scripture and a rigorous distinction between God’s program for Israel and for the Church. They believe that Israel has a separate irrevocable covenant with God and will be restored.

Rom 11:25-27 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.

The restoration occurs after the rapture of the church.

Influences included the Bible Conference Movement, starting in 1878 with the Niagara Bible Conference. These conferences led to an increasing acceptance of futurist Premillennial views and the Pre- Tribulation rapture especially among Presbyterian, Baptist and Congregational members. 1

Popular books also contributed to acceptance of the Pre-Tribulation rapture, including William Eugene Blackstone’s 2 book “Jesus is Coming” published in 1878 and which sold more than 1.3 million copies. 1

1 Ibid 2 Blackstone was an American evangelist and Christian Zionist influenced by D. L. Moody.

William Eugene Blackstone (1841–1935)

DISPENSATIONALISM

L.S. Chafer (1871-1952)

C.I. Scofield (1843-1921)

The famous 19th century evangelist, D.L. Moody was a Premillennialist and appointed the famous Dispensationalist, C. I. Scofield to be pastor in his church in Northfield. Dispensationalism was propagated in the US on the popular

DISPENSATIONALISM

level largely through the Scofield Reference Bible and on the academic level with Lewis Sperry Chafer’s 8-volume ‘Systematic Theology’. Chafer was mentored by Scofield and founded The Dallas Theological Seminary, which is renowned for popularizing Dispensationalism.

American Baptist pastor and author, Clarence Larkin, published many books and charts illustrating Dispensational Millennialism views, which had a profound impact on conservative Protestant culture in the 20th century.

In the 20th century, Dispensationalism became the most popular eschatological perspective in the US especially among nondenominational Bible churches, Baptists, Pentecostal and Charismatic groups.

Clarence Larkin (1850-1924)

DISPENSATIONALISM

DISPENSATIONAL COVENANTS

Scofield

Larkin

1

Innocence

Edenic

2

Conscience

Antediluvian

3

Human Government

Postdiluvian

4

Promise

Patriarchal

5

Law

Legal

6

Grace

Ecclesiastical

7

Kingdom

Messianic

8

The fullness of times

In 1957, John Walvoord, a theologian at Dallas Theological Seminary, authored a book, “The Rapture Question”, that gave theological support to the Pre-Tribulation rapture; this book eventually sold over 65,000 copies. 1 In 1958, J. Dwight Pentecost (1915-2014) authored another book supporting the Pre-Tribulation rapture, “Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology”, which sold 215,000 copies. 1

Another popular proponent of Dispensational Premillennialism is Charles Ryrie (in the notes for the Ryrie Study Bible).

1 Wikipedia (Rapture)

J. F. Walvoord (1910-2002)

DISPENSATIONALISM

Charles Ryrie (1925-2016)

During the 1970s, the Pre-Tribulation rapture viewpoint, held by many Dispensational Premillennialists, was popularized through the movie “A Thief in the Night” released in 1972, which has reportedly been seen by over 300 million people around the world. It’s soundtrack included the iconic song by Larry Norman, “I wish we’d all been ready”.

The rapture viewpoint was further popularized by the books of Hal Lindsey, including “The Late Great Planet Earth”, which has reportedly sold between 15 and 35 million copies.

Hal Lindsey

DISPENSATIONALISM

From 1995 until present, the doctrine of the Pre-Trib rapture was further popularized by Tim LaHaye’s and Jerry Jenkins “Left Behind” book series, which sold over 65 million copies in series and was made into several movies.

Lahaye & Jenkins

DISPENSATIONALISM

Another outspoken advocate for dispensationalism is Dr. Thomas Ice, the executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center on the campus of Liberty University, which he cofounded with Lahaye.

Thomas Ice

Jerry Falwell Sr. was an American Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist and founder of Liberty University.

On July 31, 2006, CNN’s Paula Zahn Now program featured a segment on “whether the crisis in the Middle East is actually a prelude to the end of the world". In a featured interview Falwell said, “I believe in the premillennial, pre-tribulational coming of Christ for all of his church, and to summarize that, your first poll, do you believe Jesus' coming the second time will be in the future, I would vote yes with the 59 percent and with Billy Graham and most evangelicals.”

Jerry Falwell Sr. (1933-2007)

DISPENSATIONALISM

Other well-known proponents of the Pre-Trib Rapture include Charles Feinberg, J. Vernon McGee, Billy Graham, John Whitcomb, Chuck Smith, Chuck Missler, Jack Van Impe, Grant Jeffrey, Norman Geisler, David Jeremiah and John Hagee.

Chuck Missler (1934-2018)

Billy Graham (1918-2018)

Chuck Smith (1927-2013)

Jack Van Impe (1931-)

DISPENSATIONALISM

David Jeremiah (1941-)

John Whitcomb (1924-)

WHY PRE-TRIB?

Why do we believe that the Rapture and the Second Advent are 2 separate events and that the Rapture will take place before the 7 year Tribulation?

Can there be 2 Second Comings?

Does the church experience God’s wrath?

Is the day known or unknown?

Where is the church in the Revelation?

What is the “blessed hope”?

Who populates the Millennial earth?

Righteous removed or wicked removed?

The Lord himself or with the angels?

(1) 2 SECOND COMINGS?

It is often contended that Pretribulationists teach a first ‘Second Coming’ and a second ‘Second Coming’.

But remember that there were two phases to the First Coming.

Jesus Christ ministered to all until his death.

After his resurrection he appeared again, but now only to believers.

The 2 phases of the First Coming were separated by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

1st Coming

Phase 1

Appears to all

Phase 2

Appears only to believers

As with his First Coming we believe that there will be 2 phases to his Second Coming.

The Rapture - when Jesus appears only to believers.

The Second Advent - when he appears to all and comes as judge (7 years after the Rapture).

1st Coming

Phase 1

Appears to all

Phase 2

Appears only to believers

2nd Coming

Phase 1

Appears only to believers

Phase 2

Appears to all

(1) 2 SECOND COMINGS?

(2) ESCAPE GOD’S WRATH

Another accusation launched against Pre-Tribulationists is that their motivation for wanting to miss the Tribulation is because they do not want to suffer.

The Bible plainly teaches that Christians will suffer in this present age. However we need to differentiate between man’s (or Satan’s) wrath - and God’s wrath. The Tribulation is God’s wrath on sinful man, not Satan’s wrath in the form of persecution.

In the context of the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 5 we are told that “God did not appoint us to suffer wrath”.

1 Thess 5:4,9 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief… For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Tribulation (or “Day of the Lord”) is not man’s wrath - it is God’s wrath and judgment on man.

Rev 6:16-17 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

(2) ESCAPE GOD’S WRATH

Christians will be kept from the “hour of trial”.

Rev 3:10-11 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

1 Thess 1:9-10… They tell how you 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—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

(2) ESCAPE GOD’S WRATH

Jesus compares his coming to both the judgment of the Flood and of Sodom.

Luke 17:26-28 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man… It was the same in the days of Lot…”

Now Noah did not go through the Flood (God’s judgment). He and his family were removed by being placed in the ark. Likewise Lot and his family were spared the judgment on Sodom by being removed from the city.

(2) ESCAPE GOD’S WRATH

Abraham said to God when ‘negotiating’ about Sodom, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?... Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:23-25)

Like the Flood and the destruction of Sodom, the Tribulation is God’s judgment on unrepentant men.

(2) ESCAPE GOD’S WRATH

Thus it is Scripturally consistent to believe that the righteous are removed before the judgment of God.

Millennium

2nd Advent

7-year Tribulation

PRESENT AGE

AGE TO COME

Rapture

MAN’S WRATH

GOD’S WRATH

END

OF

AGE

(2) ESCAPE GOD’S WRATH

Twice in John’s book of Revelation, Jesus warns:

Rev 3:3 But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Rev 16:15 “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

A thief does not announce the time of his coming, but instead comes when he is least expected.

(3) A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

But if the Rapture occurs at the end or the middle of the 7 year Tribulation, then how will it be unexpected? We know that there are 2 sets of 1260 days (3 ½ years) which comprise the Tribulation so anyone could work it out.

2 Pet 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.

If Jesus comes at the end or the middle of a known 7-year Tribulation period, what possible sense would the previous passage and one like this make?

Luke 12:46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.

(3) A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

Millennium

2nd Advent

7-year Tribulation

PRESENT AGE

AGE TO COME

Rapture

AN UNKNOWN DAY

A KNOWN DAY

(3) A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

(4) REVELATION

Pre-Trib adherents generally place the Rapture either between Revelation 3 & 4 or in chapter 6 (6th seal).

You find no mention of the Church in Revelation after chapter 3 until you get to Rev 22:16. There is however mention of Israel (with the 144,000 in Rev 7 and the woman in Rev 12). Also Jerusalem as well as the Temple are featured prominently (Rev 11).

Surely if the Church is present during the Tribulation they should merit some mention? This is circumstantial evidence that the church is not present and that God is once again dealing with Israel. This period is referred to in the OT as the time of “Jacob’s trouble”. 1

1 Jacob was renamed Israel by God and he was the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Some try dismiss Israel and say that God has finished working with her. They try and apply all scripture in the NT concerning Israel to the Church.

However the NT clearly teaches the restoration of Israel and clearly differentiates between Israel and the Gentile elect:

Rom 11:25-26 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.”

(4) REVELATION

GOLDEN AGE FOR JEW & GENTILE

Millennium

2nd Advent

7-year Tribulation

PRESENT AGE

AGE TO COME

Rapture

TIME OF THE GENTILES

JACOB’S TROUBLE

I SRAEL

RESTORED

GENTILE CHURCH REMOVED

Israel are told that they should not long for the Day of the Lord (which we identify with the 7-year tribulation).

Amos 5:18-20 Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light— pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

Indeed Jesus says of this time, “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Matt 24:21-22)

(5) THE “BLESSED HOPE”

The appearing of the Lord for the Church is called “the blessed hope”. (Titus 2:13) The appearing of the Lord, should it come after the Great Tribulation, as far as the Church is concerned, would be no blessed hope, rather, the blessed hope of church saints would be to die before the coming of the Lord should they have to go through the Great Tribulation. 1

1 Warren Paynter: “The Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church”

(5) THE “BLESSED HOPE”

However for Israel, who are present during the Tribulation, this period (the Day of the Lord) is known as “JACOB’S TROUBLE”):

Jer 30:7 How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.

If Jesus returns after the Tribulation then his return is not a “blessed hope” for the Church. Instead like Israel, the Church should be told “Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! ” (Amos 5:18)

(5) THE “BLESSED HOPE”

If the Rapture comes after the Great Tribulation, then all the saints, including the Jews, will be glorified, and all the wicked will be slain.

The question is then, who is left to repopulate the earth during the Millennium?

(6) THE MILLENNIUM

(7) RIGHTEOUS REMOVED

The Bible speaks of an event where the righteous are removed and an event when the wicked are removed:

RIGHTEOUS REMOVED (Rapture):

2 Thess 2:1-2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him

WICKED REMOVED (2nd Advent):

Matt 13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.

(8) THE LORD HIMSELF

The Bible speaks of an event where Jesus comes alone and an event when he comes with his angels:

COMES ALONE (Rapture): There is no need for angelic assistance because we shall be equal to the angels.

1 Thess 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven... 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.

WITH HIS ANGELS (2nd Advent): The angels are required to gather the wicked for judgment.

Matt 13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.

(8) THE LORD HIMSELF

Expanding on 1 Thess 4:16:

The Lord himself shall descend from heaven: Here the word translated himself (autos) is emphatic. It means “he himself and none other.” 1

With the voice of the archangel: This is better rendered “with a voice of an archangel.” In other words “with an archangel’s voice.” Thus this statement does not teach that Christ will be accompanied by an archangel but that the sound of his voice, as he summons the dead in Christ from their graves, and summons them together with the living saints to meet him in the air, is like the voice of an archangel. 1

1 Ibid

Paul makes it clear that the resurrection (of the righteous) and the Rapture take place at one and the same time. He writes, “The dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor 15:52) Again, “the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them.” (1 Thess 4:16-17). Now the Lord Jesus tells us something very important about this event in Luke 20:34-36, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; for they can die no more, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” 1

1 Ibid

(8) THE LORD HIMSELF

The Greek word translated “like angels” is the word ‘isangelos’. The prefix comes from the Greek word ‘isos’ which means ‘equal’. 2 Thus Jesus said that, when the resurrection takes place, those who are resurrected, and, we know from the epistles of Paul, those who are alive at his coming, are so changed that they are now equal to angels being sons of the resurrection. 1

Thus if we are equal to angels at the resurrection, there is no need for angelic assistance to be gathered to the Lord. However the unrighteous at the Second Advent need to be gathered by the angels.

1 Ibid 2 In English an isosceles triangle is a triangle with two sides which are equal. The first part of the word ‘isos’ is the Greek word for equal.

(8) THE LORD HIMSELF

Andreas of Caesarea (5th - 9th century) insisted that the manchild of Rev 12 cannot be Christ as the Incarnation occurred before the Apocalypse was written. The ascension of the manchild is applied not to Christ, but to the resurrection of the righteous church as described in 1 Thess 4:17. 1

This is remarkable for the time of writing, because later in the 19th century J. N. Darby would popularise the idea that the catching up of the manchild referred to the Rapture of end-time believers described in this same text!

1 ‘But her child was caught up to God and to his throne.’ The saints are caught up in the midst of temptations, lest they be subdued by difficulties beyond their powers. And ‘they will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,’ and they will be with God and his throne… “Commentary on the Apocalypse”

THE MANCHILD

Darby regarded Rev 12:5 as a key proof verse for the Pretribulation Rapture. While some see the manchild as either Christ or the Church, he resolved the differences in these two views by making the manchild both Christ and the Church—as the respective head and body of what he termed “the mystic man”.

He saw the woman of Rev 12 as Israel and the manchild as a type of the raptured end-time Church (although typified by Christ). Although largely forgotten today, this view was actually very widespread and was held by William Kelly (1821-1906), Edward Dennett (1841-1914), Charles Stanley (1821-1890), G.H. Pember (1837-1910), W.T.P. Wolston (1840-1917), William Biederwolf (1867-1939) and Harry Ironside (1876-1951).

THE MANCHILD

RAPTURE & 2ND ADVENT

If we note these differences between the Rapture and the Second Advent, we can see it clearly in the different parables. The term “end of the age” is only applied to the 2nd Advent.

RAPTURE

SECOND ADVENT

Before the Day of the Lord (i.e. Tribulation)

End of Tribulation (i.e. End of Age)

Jesus comes alone

Jesus sends out His angels

Righteous are removed

Wicked are removed

END

OF

AGE

Millennium

2nd Advent

7-year Tribulation

PRESENT AGE

Before the Day of the Lord

Righteous are removed

Jesus comes alone

End of Age

Wicked are removed

Jesus sends out His angels

RAPURE & 2ND ADVENT

AGE TO COME

Rapture

MAN’S WRATH

GOD’S WRATH

GOLDEN AGE OF PEACE

RAPTURE & 2ND ADVENT

WHEAT & TARES: This refers to the Second Advent because the term “end of the age” is used. Also the angels remove the wicked.

Matt 13:39-42 …The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace…

2ND ADVENT

THE NET: refers to the Second Advent because the term “end of the age” is used. Also the angels remove the wicked.

Matt 13:48-50 “When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace…”

2ND ADVENT

THE TEN VIRGINS: This refers to the Rapture because the groom comes unexpectedly to take only those wise virgins who are waiting for him.

Matt 25:2-13 “Five of them were foolish and five were wise… At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom!’ … The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet… Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

RAPTURE

Matt 24:37-42 “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 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; 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. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

Some have debated whether the above passage actually refers to the Second Advent. However people are shown as being caught up in their day to day business when an unexpected return of Jesus occurs.

RAPTURE

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. ("http:// www.lockman.org/ ">www.Lockman.org)




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