End Time Truths of the Real Pre-Tribulation Rapture
By Abraham Israel
You may be wondering why I am calling the ‘rapture’ as the ‘real pre-Tribulation rapture’. Because these days people change the semantic of the word and make it to mean something other than what it is intended to be. The word ‘pre’ is a prefix which is added before a word to mean ‘before someone or something’. So the whole phrase pre-Tribulation rapture means ‘rapture will happen before Tribulation’.
Myth 1: The Tribulation is for 7-years
There is not a single verse in the whole Bible that says, ‘there will be a 7-years Tribulation’ at the end time. People have assumed that the moment Antichrist makes a peace deal with Israel (Dan 9:27), the Tribulation will start. But the Bible clearly points that the saints will be given in to the hands of Antichrist only for three and half years [i.e. from the time of abomination of desolation to the time of Second Coming of Jesus Christ] (Dan 9:27; 7:25-26; Matt 24:15-19). During the first three and half years of peace covenant with the nation of Israel, Antichrist will act as though he is the messiah of the nation of Israel and will become the leader of the one world government. Antichrist will subdue three kings by his deceit during the first three and half year period of the peace covenant (Dan 7:24; 8:23-24). The bottom line is, no one can determine when the Tribulation will start or end because it is in God’s hands (Matt 24:21-22; Mark 13:19-20).
Myth 2: The Tribulation will start immediately after Antichrist makes a 7 year peace covenant with Israel
First of all no one knows when the Tribulation will start. Jesus described four seasons of the end time, in which He equated the season of winter with Tribulation (Mark 13:18-19). Jesus asked the believing people to pray so that they might not be left behind during the Tribulation time (Mark 13:18). Jesus gave the believers a seasonal sign for them to watch and pray, this seasonal sign will be the abomination of desolation which will happen first at 3 ½ years after the peace covenant of Antichrist (Dan 9:27; Matt 24:15). After the ‘abomination of desolation’ starts, the rapture may happen any time (Matt 24:16-20; Mark 13:15-18). After the rapture immediately Tribulation will start (Matt 24:21-22). In other words, if you can know the exact time of rapture only then you can know the starting time of Tribulation, because Tribulation will start immediately the moment rapture takes place.
Myth 3: Jesus said only to watch for the rapture and not for the Antichrist
Yes it is true that Jesus told the believers to “…watch!” (Mark 13:37) for the rapture, but He also said, ““So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Mark 13:14) [Note: Jesus spoke specifically to those in Judea because the persecution of Antichrist will start from the end time temple of Jerusalem, in which Antichrist will sit to make it as his residence headquarters of the world. And from then on will begin to boast as the messiah of the world and will rule the whole world from there for three and half years (Dan 9:27; Rev 13:5, 7-8). Jesus told the believers to flee from Judea to the surrounding mountains because from that time onwards Satan through Antichrist will try to capture all the professing believers and behead them if they will not receive his seal (Rev 12:13-16; 13:15-18; 20:4). For this reason Jesus exhorted the end time Judean believer’s to flee to the mountains so that they may not be caught up in the deception of Antichrist or be martyred just before rapture takes place]. Seeing and understanding the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the Holy place of the End Time Temple is in itself is the reward of revelation from God, only for those who will be watching for the imminent coming of Jesus to take away the Church at rapture (Matt 24:15-16; 2 Thess 2:3, 6). All those who will not be watching for the imminent rapture will not understand this signpost of ‘abomination of desolation’, but because of delusion will be left behind (Matt 24:38-44). When God Himself sends a strong delusion against those who are not watching and praying but spiritually sleeping with unbelievers, how can they escape the Tribulation even if the ‘abomination of desolation’ happens before their very eyes (2 Thess 2:11; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 17:26-30; 21:34-36; 1 Thess 5:1-11). So there is no point in arguing that, people will understand and come to know the timing of rapture if the signpost of the ‘abomination of desolation’ is revealed. Understanding the truth of God is a spiritual thing which a natural man cannot understand unless the Holy Spirit quickens his soul to give understanding (1 Cor 2:9-16). The rapture too is a spiritual thing which will happen only to those who will be spiritually connected to God in a supernatural way of watching [i.e. hearing God daily in the inner spirit man] and praying [i.e. talking back to God for strength to do the revealed truth]. Even if a believer wakes up a spiritually sleepy person during those times saying the rapture is on, only if that sleeper chooses to believe and accept that truth, then His spiritual eyes will be opened by God because of His mercies and as a result the sleeper will wake up to watch and pray to be a part of the great rapture of the Church (1 Thess 2:10, 12). If that person chooses to deny the truth by not repenting from His self-obsessive activities of the end time (Luke 17:27-28; 21:34; 1 Thess 5:7-10), then he will be given by God in to delusion. To be deluded is to believe in a lie thinking that it is the truth. Luke-warm believers of the end time will be deluded by a very strong deceptive spirit influence of delusion, which will make them insensitive to God’s spiritual truth of rapture! Praise the Lord!
Apostolic End Time Foundational Bedrock
My belief that there will be a real pre-Tribulation rapture of the Church stands on the cornerstone of the following principles,
1) The Bible is the word of God
The Bible is the only inerrant, infallible voice and the will of God which reveals the plan, purpose and the destiny of every human present in this planet earth (Jer 29:10-11; Dan 9:2). It is given for every man to be equipped for every good work. The 66-Book canon is the final conclusion of God’s will to find God’s plan and purpose for the ages (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Always a doctrine which is strong and true should have two or more evidence of support from the scripture and should not have discrepancy to any other word found in the Bible (2 Cor 13:1). The scripture is the final authority which cannot be disputed, no other document other than the canonized 66-Book of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation can be added as an evidence to the authentication of any teaching (Matt 24:35; Rev 22:17). Just because the Apostles used in their writing a few canonized scripture from Apocrypha under the inspiration of the Spirit does not mean that it can be considered equal to the canonized 66-Book of the Bible (Jude 14; 2 Peter 3:14-16; Eph 3:5).
2) The Bible is to be interpreted literally
God has spoken literally, always in all ages to reveal His will for His creation to follow, first through His prophets from the time of creation and then through the Son now till the end of the age (Heb 1:1-2; Matt 28:20). The Bible should be interpreted literally as long as it makes sense. God means what He says and He desires His Creation to know His will plainly, this is the reason the Bible says that “[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4). The Bible is God’s word and is truth (Ps 119:142; John 17:17). God also speaks in various places of the Bible in dark sayings, metaphors, parables and picturesque descriptions (Rev 1:1; Num 12:8; Mark 4:11; Matt 13:10-11). But the seekers of God will always be illumined by the Spirit of God to understand the context in which a scripture is written and then be able to explain all the truths of the Bible to others with conviction just like Jesus did (John 7:17; Matt 22:29, 31-32; Eph 1:17-18; 1 Peter 3:15-17; 2 Tim 4:2). Almost all scripture follows with it an explanation succeeding or preceding it.
The truths of the Bible should never be taken out of context or be spiritualized. Any end time eschatological view point based on the writers or readers desire to spiritualize and read in to the scripture, their own desires or wrong view point should be thrown out. The cutting-edge view point from the scriptural context was what described by Apostle Paul as the desired ingredient for a good, authenticated teacher and preacher of the word (2 Tim 2:15; 1 Tim 4:13, 16; 5:17). Always take the Bible in its plain, literal meaning. If it does not make sense, go for symbolic, metaphorical and descriptive meaning from other areas of scripture. But never spiritualize the scripture by reading in to it all the ethereal ideas of your own desire.
3) The Church and Israel are separate entities
God’s original idea was to bless the world through the nation of Israel (Gen 12:1-3; Matt 23:15). But because of their rejection of Jesus who is the king of the kingdom of God on earth, God turned to both Gentiles and Jews who accepted Jesus, to separate for Himself a people among then to be the light of the revelation of God to the Gentiles (Matt 21:42-44; Rom 9:24-26; 2 Cor 6:16-18). Once the fullness of the Gentiles has come in through the declaration of the good news of Salvation through Jesus Christ in all the world at the end time, then God will again turn back to His original idea of restoring the world through the nation of Israel (Rom 11:24-27; Matt 24:14; Mark 13:10). The Church is God’s intermediary project till the times of restoration of the original idea of God gets fulfilled (Matt 16:13-20; Acts 3:21). The original idea of God blessing the world through the nation of Israel will only be restored when at the end of tribulation a small remnant shall willingly accept Jesus Christ as their deliverer (Matt 24:29-30; Zech 12:10-11; Rom 11:26, 24; Matt 23:39). Then will the nation of Israel be restored with Jerusalem as the world religious and financial capital of the whole world under their Messiah Jesus Christ. Thus God’s original intent of salvation of the world through the Jews will be fulfilled (John 4:22; Zech 14:16-17). The Church is not Israel and Israel is not the Church. No matter whether a person is a Jew or a Gentile, becomes a part of the Church if he believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (Rom 1:16; Gal 3:28). The Church has become a Spiritual nation under Christ, but it does not mean that it has replaced God’s original idea of a physical nation of Israel under Christ (Galatians 6:15-16; 3:29; Matt 21:43). The nation of Israel as Abraham’s physical seed has always been compared to the sand on the sea shore (Isaiah 10:22). The Church as Abraham’s spiritual seed has always been compared to the stars in the heavenly places (Gen 13:16; 22:17; Heb 11:12; Eph 1:1, 3). Abraham’s descendants multiplying as the stars of heaven and possessing the gates of its enemies are being fulfilled by Jesus Christ through the Church right now (Gen 22:17-18; Matt 16:18-19). The Apostle Paul clarified that Abraham becoming heir of the world was not through his physical seed [i.e. the nation of Israel] which followed the Law, but through the Spiritual seed [i.e. the Church] which follows after the righteousness of faith which is in Jesus Christ (Rom 4:13; Gal 3:16; 1 Tim 1:14; 3:13; 2 Tim 3:15; Phm 1:6 ). Now as the Spiritual heirs of Abraham, the Church is blessing the world physically and spiritually (1 Cor 16:1-3; Acts 8:1, 4; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Matt 24:14). Later when Christ rules on earth for a Millennium, the nation of Israel will fulfill the promises of God in blessing the world physically and spiritually (Zech 14:16-21; Is 27:6). Then the nations around the world will in return bless the nation of Israel, for blessing them through the Messiah’s righteous rule (Isaiah 60:5-18; 61:6; 55:5; Ps 72:10). The promises given to the Church which is the bride of Christ is completely different from the promises given to Israel as a nation and people. Both the Church as the Bride of Christ and Israel as a nation have their own unique prophetic destinies to fulfill in Christ Jesus!
4) A literal 1000-Year Millennium
The Bible clearly describes that Christ in the future will literally rule the earth for a Millennium [i.e. 1000 year time period] along with all the saints of God who ever lived (Rev 20:4-6; Zech 14:5). The Greek word ‘chilias’ means ‘one thousand’, and it appears six times in Revelation Chapter 20. Thus it clearly shows that there will be a literal thousand years in which Jesus and His glorified saints will rule the earth. The plan of God for this Millennium of Christ’s rule is to prove that every human being needs God in their lives in order to live blessed in this planet earth. Without the help of God man with his fallen sinful nature will destroy himself and also everything around him (Rev 20:7-10). During the 1000 year rule of Christ on earth, God will fulfill all His earthly promises that He has ever made to mankind from the beginning of creation (2 Cor 1:20; Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:5, 18; Deut 18:15-22; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Jer 23:5-8; 31:31-38; Ezekiel 11:17-20; 34:23-26; 36:24-30; Hosea 3:4-5; Micah 7:18-20; Rom 11:25-32).
5) The Tribulation time is not specified exactly and will be reduced from the set planned time
There has been a lot of speculation about the time period of Tribulation. But the reality is, God is the one who will initiate the Tribulation in His set planned time. As Jesus predicted, the time period of the Tribulation will be reduced from the original set time of God or else no humans will be left alive in the planet earth when Jesus arrives on earth at His Second Coming (Matt 24:20-22; Mark 13:18-20). The wrath of God will be in the proportion of the days of Noah and Lot in which the destruction was absolute (Luke 17:27, 29; Matt 24:37-39). According to the preceding verses, the Tribulation will be God’s judgment on the wicked people living in the earth. It is not Antichrist who will initiate the Tribulation as people wrongly believe, but it is God and God alone. It is also God who will shorten and end the tribulation as Jesus also affirmed (Matt 24:22; Rev 15:1). From the preceding verses we can also see that the righteous people living at the end times will be snatched out and raptured away from the wrath of God. Only then will the wrath of God will be released on earth. But the persecution of Antichrist against saints will subtly start right from the day of ‘abomination of desolation’ (Dan 7:25; 9:27; 2 Tim 3:12). It will start from Judea and will spread to the whole world. So only Jesus told the believers living at that point of time to flee to the mountains the moment they see the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the temple (Matt 24:15-19; Mark 13:14-17). Like Lot fled to the nearby mountains to flee from God’s wrath, so also these end time believers will flee at the last moment (Gen 19:15-17, 30; Matt 24:16; Mark 13:14). The rapture will happen as the believer’s will literally flee to the mountains in obedience to his word. To God obedience is better than many sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:22-23). Those who look back casually to take some of their material things for survival will come under the wrath of God like Lot’s wife (Luke 17:30-33; Gen 19:25-26). The time in which the persecution will start have been described in various places and it is 31/2 years, right from the day of ‘abomination of desolation’ it will start subtly (Dan 7:25; 9:27; Rev 12:14; 11:3; 11:2; 13:5). The purpose of the Tribulation will be to pour God’s wrath upon the evil of the world, to make the nation of Israel realize their folly in trusting Antichrist as their Messiah, to make Israel to acknowledge Jesus as their true Messiah so that He can return to fight and win for His believing remnant and to make the people of the world to repent of their wrong doings (Deut 4:24-31; Is 13:6-13; 17:4-14; Jer 30:3-9; Ezekiel 20:33-38; Rev 16:10-11; 9:20-21; Dan 9:27; 12:1, 7; Zech 14:1-5; Matt 24:15-29). The purpose of the persecution of the left behind saints after the rapture is to refine them, and make them white until the time of the end [i.e. Second Coming] (Dan 11:35-36; Rev 7:9-17; 20:4-6). Never mix up the persecution of saints by Antichrist with the Tribulation wrath of God. The persecution of the Antichrist against the saints will be instigated by Satan, knowing that his time will soon end and he will be thrown in to the prison for a Millennium. This can be exactly called as Satan’s wrath as the Bible says (Rev 12:12; 20:1-2).
6) Jesus will return again to the earth
The Bible says that Jesus will physically return again in His glorious resurrected body to the planet earth (Zech 14:1-21; Matt 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27; Rev 19:11-20:6). The purpose of Jesus coming to the earth is to defeat His enemies [i.e. His enemies will be Satan and his demonic cohorts, Antichrist and the false prophets, all the wicked and the rebellious earth dwellers who would have already received the seal of Antichrist and have become his followers, and the unbeliever’s who would have hated His fellow brethren during the time of Tribulation (Rev 20:1-3; 19:19-21; Matt 25:40-46)], to resurrect the martyrs of all ages especially the Tribulation saints who were beheaded for their testimony of Jesus (Matt 24:30-31; Rev 20:4-6; 12:10-17), establish His throne on earth and separate the unbelievers from the believing remnant in the whole world at the ‘Judgment of nations’, thus send the unbelievers in to everlasting punishment and the believers in to the Millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ (Matt 25:31-46; 19:28; Rev 20:4) and to deliver and restore the nation of Israel and make Jerusalem as its capital according to the original plan of God and also build a millennial temple in it, in which Jesus will reside to rule the whole world with “a rod of iron” along with all the saints in their glorified bodies (Rom 11:26; Rev 12:5; Ps 2:7, 9-12; Matt 25:31; Rev 20:4; Acts 1:6-7; Rev 2:26-27; 3:21; Ezek 40:5; 43:4-7; Zech 6:12-15; 14:8-10). The living believer’s who will be ushered in to the millennial kingdom of Jesus will procreate and populate the earth in their physical bodies and will receive blessings of the original creation of the Lord which was given to the first Adam after God finished the creation of all the earth and everything in it (Matt 25:34-40; Gen 1:26-31; Acts 3:21). The curses over the human kind will be revoked by Jesus and the whole earth will be blessed like never before (Isaiah 65:19-25). Only the sinners and rebellious people will be cursed during the millennium reign of Jesus (Isaiah 65:20; Zech 14:17-19).
7) The Bible teaches a rapture which can happen anytime or day immediately after the ‘abomination of desolation’
Apostle Paul in 1 Thess 4:17 spoke of an event called “the rapture”, Latin “rapio,” Greek “harpazo,” which means “to catch up, to snatch away, to take out.” He clearly said of two categories of believers, one category will be all those dead believer’s from the first century Church onwards even up to rapture time who will first be resurrected with a glorified body and the next category will be those believer’s alive during the time of the event of rapture who will suddenly be transformed and changed with a glorious body and then will be caught up together with the first category of believers to meet Jesus in the mid-air (1 Thess 4:16-17). After Paul had written the first letter to the Thessalonians Church, some false teachers came and told them that this day of Christ [i.e. rapture] has already come, and that they are living already in the day of the Lord’s wrath. Because of this false propaganda by the false teachers, many of the believer’s became shaken and troubled in their mind. These deceiving false teachers also took some forged letters which were signed as from Apostle Paul and his apostolic company, through which they claimed the authentication of their message saying that they were sent by Paul. This was all instigated under the influence of a false spirit of Antichrist (2 Thess 2:1-3; 1 John 2:18; 4:3; Matt 24:23-24). The same spirit of Antichrist even now is trying to confuse and deceive many with the timing of the rapture season. But take heart, Apostle Paul gave two signs for the believers to really know the season of the rapture event. He clearly said that the Apostasy of the Church [i.e. falling away from true faith] will happen first and then Antichrist will be revealed to the Church who will oppose Christ, exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, and as a result will sit as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (2 Thess 2:3-4). This is the same event that Jesus told the believers particularly in Judea that when they see the Antichrist standing in the temple, they should flee to the mountains so that they may not be caught by Antichrist and end up being deceived and killed before rapture or else left behind because of being found sleeping spiritually (Mark 13:33-37; Luke 21:34-36). Jesus called this event as the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken by the prophet Daniel (Mark 13:14-19; Matt 24:15-21; Luke 17:26-33). The Book of Daniel positions this event exactly three and half years after Antichrist would sign a peace treaty with the nation of Israel. Daniel described this event as stopping the sacrifice and offering in the end time temple of the Jews. He also calls this single event of abomination which will trigger more such events as “the wing of abominations” (Dan 9;27), until finally Antichrist will totally make the temple desolated before the final war of the end [i.e. Armageddon] starts. In other words it says that this one event which will start at 31/2 years after the peace accord will be continued by Antichrist till he dies in the battle of Armageddon and be thrown in to the lake of fire (Matt 24:15; Rev 19:19-21). The Book of Daniel says, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away [i.e. at 31/2 years after the peace treaty of Antichrist (Dan 9:27)], and the abomination of desolation is set up [i.e. completed at its zenith in which the temple will be left desecrated and desolated completely], there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Dan 12:11). The blessed person who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty five days will see Christ at His second coming (Dan 12:12). But Daniel was commanded to live till his death after which he will take rest and will be with God in heaven till he gets resurrected with Christ (Matt 27:52-53; Isaiah 26:19), after which he will arise to His inheritance at the end of the days (Dan 12:13). The end of days will be the new era in which the old heaven and earth will melt and pass away with a loud noise (2 Peter 3:10-13; Rev 21:1). There will no more be time count of days after this, but only eternity with God in the new heaven and new earth which is the real inheritance of all believers (Gen 1:14-18; Jer 31:35; 2 Peter 3:13). The believers will inherit various levels of leadership according to the glory that they would have received from God as a reward for the kind of life they would have lived while on earth (1 Cor 15:40-43). These saints will rule the nations in the new earth according to the stature of glory God would have given them (Rev 21:26). Thus Paul has reaffirmed with all surety to the Thessalonian believer’s that the rapture will not happen until this ‘abomination of desolation’ take place exactly at 31/2 years after the peace treaty had been made by Antichrist (2 Thess 1:10-12; 2:1-6).
What more evidence do we need than the direct answer from the lips of the Apostle Paul, who have written one third of the New Testament and have said that the rapture will happen only after the ‘abomination of desolation’ take place (2 Thess 2:3-4). Also what more evidence do we need than from the lips of Jesus, who said to the believers to be aware of the season of the imminent rapture when believer’s will see the abomination of desolation take place (Matt 24:15-16, 20-21, Mark 13:14, 18-19). Jesus called the season of rapture using the words “in those days” (Matt 24:19; Mark 13:17). Jesus clearly had also told the Tribulation will take place immediately after the rapture take place. He wished that no believer’s should get left behind during the Tribulation winter or Sabbath (Matt 24:20-21; Mark 13:18-19; Luke 17:27, 29; Matt 24:38-44). Jesus has always told that only the day or hour of rapture cannot be known, but not even once did He anywhere say that the season of rapture cannot be known (Matt 24:36, 40-44, 50; 25:13; Mark 13:32, 35-37). Instead Jesus pointed to ‘abomination of desolation’ as the seasonal signpost of rapture and told all the believers to be watchful, so that they will become a part of the great event of the ages [i.e. rapture]!
All of these above seven corner stone principles and statements about the Bible and its interpretation provide the foundation to analyze the reasons for the ‘Real Pre-Tribulation Rapture’ of the Church.