Why I believe in a 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’ [Note: These days the moment someone says Pre-Tribulation, people wrongly think about a Rapture before 7-year Tribulation which starts with the peace treaty of Antichrist with the nation of Israel. But I am speaking about a Rapture which may happen any moment after the ‘abomination of desolation’ which will happen exactly 3 1/2 years after the peace treaty of Antichrist with the nation of Israel]. To emphasize this point I am calling it as ‘Real Pre-Tribulation Rapture’.
We must open our Bibles to check and see that the rapture event (1 Thess 4:13-18; John 14:1-2; Matt 24:20, 27, 38-44; Mark 13:18,32,33; Luke 21:34-36; 17:24-37), has a totally different scenario than the Second Coming of Jesus (Matt 24:30-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27; Rev 19; Zech 14:1-5; Matt 25:31-46; 1 Cor 15:50-58). From the preceding verses two very different scenarios of rapture and second coming can be derived as follows,
a) Rapture – Believer’s meet Christ in the air (1 Thess 4:14-17).
Second Coming – Christ will return to the Mount of Olives with the glorified believers (Zech 14:1, 4, 5; Rev 19:11-16).
b) Rapture – No visible sign will be seen by anybody before the event will take place, as the event itself will flash forth like a lightning which comes from the east and flashes to the west (Luke 17:24-37; 1 Thess 5:1-2).
Second Coming – There will appear sign of the Son of Man in heaven (Matt 24:30).
c) Rapture – Will happen before Tribulation starts (Matt 24:20, 27-28; Luke 17:24-37; 21:34-36; Rev 3:10).
Second Coming – Will happen only after the Tribulation gets over (Matt 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27; Rev 19:11-21).
d) Rapture – Will have a seasonal sign of Apostasy and abomination of desolation on earth and no heavenly visible sign ( 2 Thess 2:1-4; Matt 24:15-28; Mark 13:14-23).
Second Coming – Will have a seasonal sign on earth and also in the heavens (Matt 24:29-30; Mark 13:24-26; Luke 21:25-27; Acts 2:19-21).
e) Rapture – All the believers of the New Testament Church will get resurrected (1 Thess 4:16-17).
Second Coming – Only the martyrs of all ages and the beheaded Tribulation saints will get resurrected. So only the Bible says that it is a Blessed and holy event, and those who take part in this first resurrection will be priests of God and shall reign with Jesus Christ a thousand years (Rev 20:4-6; Matt 24:31).
f) Rapture – Living believers obtain glorified bodies (1 Thess 4:17).
Second Coming – Living believers remain in the same bodies (Matt 25:31-33).
g) Rapture – Believers go to heaven (1 Thess 4:17; Mark 14:61-62).
Second Coming – Glorified believers come from heaven, along with all the souls of the martyrs of all ages including Tribulation martyrs who will all get resurrected all over the earth when Jesus comes back with the sound of the Last trumpet (1 Cor 15:51-52; Matt 24:31; Rev 20:4-6; 7:9-17; 6:9-11; Mark 13:26-27; Dan 12:1-2).
h) Rapture – Mount of Olives is unchanged and Jesus will meet the believers in the air and then will return to heaven (1 Thess 4:17; John 14:4).
Second Coming – Mount of Olives will be divided, forming a valley east of Jerusalem when the feet of Jesus will touch and stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4).
i) Rapture – World left unjudged and living in Sin (Rev 9:20-21; 16:10-11).
Second Coming – World is judged and righteousness is established (Matt 25:31-46; Rev 20:4).
j) Rapture – Depicts deliverance of the Church from the Tribulation wrath of God (Luke 17:26-37).
Second Coming – Depicts deliverance of the believers who will endure the persecution of Antichrist and the wrath of God (Dan 7:25-27; 12:1; Rom 11:26; Matt 24:30).
k) Rapture – Satan remains free and furious against the saints (Rev 12:9, 17; 13:2, 4).
Second Coming – Satan is bound and thrown in to the prison (Rev 20:1-3).
l) Rapture – Deals only with the saved (1 Thess 4:14-18; Heb 9:28; 1 John 3:2-3).
Second Coming – Deals with both saved and unsaved (Matt 25:31-33).
m) Rapture – The main emphasis of the message is comfort for the believers (1 Thess 4:18; 5:11).
Second Coming – The main emphasis of the message is victory over death for the believers (1 Cor 15:52, 54, 57-58; Dan 7:27; Rev 19:19-21).
n) Rapture – Revealed only in the New Testament ( 1 Thess 4:14-18).
Second Coming – Revealed both in the Old and New Testament (Zech 14:5; Matt 24:30-31; Rev19:11-21).
Since the Rapture is a completely different event from the Second Coming, there is no possibility of Post-Tribulation scenario to be even considered for discussion.
2) The Rapture will occur at any day or hour after the ‘abomination of desolation’ which is the seasonal signpost evidence of the rapture
Jesus has told the believers, “[that the]….day and hour [of rapture], no one knows….Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time [of rapture] is.” (Mark 13:32-33). These preceding verses bring clarity to the end time message of rapture and are conveying the message that we cannot know only the exact hour or day of rapture. But not even once did Jesus say that we cannot know the season. Instead Jesus told that the end time season can be perceived when certain signpost of seasonal events takes place as predicted (Mark 13:28-29; Luke 21:28, 29-33). This is why Apostle Paul also reminded the believers and said to them, “1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you… 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thess 5:1, 4-6). Here in the preceding verses Paul has clearly told that the times and seasons of the rapture are know by the believers, but he gives a word of warning for the believers to watch and be serious so that this Day of Rapture may not overtake the believer as a thief in the night. In other words if the believer will not be sober and watchful, this day will overtake the believer also as a thief or else it will come as a thief only to the unbelievers. Light is always compared in the scripture to revelation, so God will reveal the season of rapture to the watchful and sober believers with conviction in their spirit man (Luke 2:32; Rev 19:10; John 16:7-15). But as a thief in the night, the day of the Lord [i.e. rapture] will come, from which the sudden destructive wrath of the Lord will come upon the unbelievers, as a labor pain upon a pregnant woman. And all the unbelievers shall not escape from destruction that will come upon the earth for their wicked lifestyle (1 Thess 5:2-3; Luke 17:27-29; Matt 24:38-39).
We can categorize the seasons of the end time in to four categories; this is one end time generation which will see all the fulfillment of the end time seasonal events (Matt 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 12:32).
a) End Time Season – Spring
(i) The Spring season is the first seasonal starting time of the whole year.
(ii) The end time calendar starts with the prophetic seasonal event of the nation of Israel getting born and starting to come stronger and independently powerful (Isaiah 11:11-16;66:8; Ezek 38:8, 11, 14-16).
(iii) The nation of Israel is compared symbolically as a fig three in various places of the Bible and Jesus told the end time believers to understand this seasonal sign of the nation of Israel being born and becoming strong as a sign post event to find out that the greatest of all time latter rain outpouring will happen ahead during this time to bring in the summer harvest of the end time (Hosea 9:10; Joel 1:6; Duet 8:8; Luke 13:1-9; Mark 11:12-14, 20-21; Matt 24:32).
(iv) The fig tree [i.e. nation of Israel] branch is already becoming tender and putting fort leaves in this present time of Spring season of the end time. This seasonal sign post event will trigger the next season of summer harvest season which is coming ahead (Matt 24:32).
(v) The latter rain which has started slowly during the spring now will only end at the conclusion of the coming summer season of the harvest of souls (Prov 10:5; 11:30). This is what we are beginning to experience now, all the outpouring that we have experienced in the past century is just the start. The zenith is ahead. Praise the Lord!
b) End Time Season – Summer
(i) The Summer season will be the time of the final end time harvest of souls, through the preaching of the gospel in all the world (Matt 24:32, 14; Mark 13:28, 10; John 4:35-38; Rev 14:6-7).
(ii) Once the harvest is past the summer season will end (Jer 8:20).
(iii) The preaching of the gospel in all the world will be the prophetic sign post of the summer season of the end time (Matt 24:14; Mark 13:10).
c) End Time Season – Autumn
(i) Autumn season will come between the end time summer outpouring and the winter Tribulation of the end time.
(ii) In the autumn season time, the leaves of the trees will usually fall and its color will get changed and get dried off. We can compare the tree as a whole to be the Church, and the believers to be the branches and Jesus as the main stem of the tree from which the sap is supplied to the branches of believers (John 15:4-6). Because many of the believers of the end time will be more concerned about their own lives and day to day activities than their connection with Jesus, these believers will get dried off (Luke 17:27-28). Thus in this season many will have a form of godliness but will deny its transforming power (2 Tim 3:1, 5). As a result they will not be producing the fruit that they were supposed to produce in the season of harvest (Psalm 1:1-3).
(iii) Prophetically this describes a season of apostasy that will come to the end time Church before the tribulation will come (2 Thess 2:3; Matt 24:23-26; Mark 13:21-23; 1 Thess 5:3).
(iv) The seasonal signpost event for the autumn season of Apostasy is the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the holy place (Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14).
(v) This ‘abomination of desolation’ will be the zenith of the autumn season after which the winter season will descend (Matt 24:20-22).
d) End Time Season – Winter
(i) In this prophetic end time season, the harsh cold weather of lovelessness and Tribulation will creep-in. There will be great Tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be (Matt 24:12, 20-21; Mark 13:18-19).
(ii) God will reduce the length of the winter season of Tribulation for the believer’s sake or else no human will be left alive in this planet earth (Matt 24:22; Mark 13:20).
(iii) The signpost seasonal event of the winter season will be the deception of Antichrist who will be accepted by people as God and messiah of the whole earth. So only those who endure to the end by not giving in to the deception of Antichrist will be delivered after the end of Tribulation, in which the sign of the Son of Man [i.e. Jesus Christ] will appear in heaven, after which He will arrive in the earth to rule the earth for a thousand years (Matt 24:23-26, 13, 29-31; Mark 13:21-23, 13, 24-27; Rev 13:14-18).
Jesus gave two important seasonal sign post for the believers to realize that the rapture is coming near and ahead. First signpost is the spring season’s signpost of the nation of Israel being born and becoming stronger. The next is the autumn season’s signpost and the most important one for an imminent rapture will be the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the Holy place. The moment this happens, the rapture may take place any time ahead. The Bible clearly says that the saints will be given in to the hands of Antichrist for three and half years only (Dan 7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Rev 12:14; 13:5, 7-8). The restrainer’s opposing activity will cease not one day less or one day more (2 Thess 2:6-7). The Holy Spirit’s opposing power through the saints will be restricted during this time period and instead power will be given to Antichrist to rule the earth which includes the saints. At present Satan has no power over the saints as Jesus is the absolute ruler over His Church (Matt 16:18; 28:18; 2 Cor 4:3, 4).
The Church is not the restrainer, but only an agent and an instrument through which the real restrainer the Holy Spirit is continuously working. So only the Apostle Paul described the restrainer with a personal pronoun. This personal pronoun is used only for a person who has the mind, will and emotion to consciously restrain something from happening ( 2 Thess 2:7). This clearly rules out the baseless unscriptural seven year period of Tribulation, but allows only a time set by God within the three and half years set pre-ordained time for Antichrist to rule the whole earth. God’s wrath will only be exhibited with in this three and half years of Antichrist rule pre-set by God. The guarantee that Jesus gave the believers is that the period of the outpouring of the wrath of God will be shortened from the pre-set time within the three and half years of the persecution of the Antichrist (Matt 24:22; Mark 13:20). Only God’s wrath has the potential to wipe of the whole earth, not the persecution of the Antichrist which will be target only towards the saints of God. It is God’s direct wrath that we see right through the Book of Revelation, which causes much destruction.
The rapture will come unexpectedly only for those people who will not watch and pray (1 Thess 5:1-4). As we see that God compared this event to the days of Noah and Lot, we must understand that both of them knew of the imminent destruction that would come upon the wicked world in which they lived then, and the unique thing is that both of them knew it even before they were taken to safety (Luke 17:26-27, 29-30). Those who sleep will be those people who will become immersed in their day to day activities without even giving a second-thought to the instruction of Jesus to watch [i.e. hear in one's spirit what God is saying in the present time] and pray [i.e. appropriate God's strength to overcome the evil godless activities of the end time generation] and thus be raptured (Luke 17:27-28; 21:34-36; Mark 13:32-37; Matt 24:36-44; 1 Thess 5:1-11). This shows that the ‘abomination of desolation’ will be the seasonal signpost for the believers to watch and pray and be alert for the imminent rapture!
Some people of God say that the believers are not supposed to be looking for Antichrist arrival but for the arrival of Jesus Christ. The identity of Antichrist will be revealed only to those people, who will be watching and praying to Jesus Christ for His arrival, so that the true believer’s may not be deceived by Antichrist. All other people who will be sleeping spiritually will all be deceived by the unrighteous deception of the working of Satan through Antichrist with all power, lying signs and lying wonders (2 Thess 2:3, 9-10). These strong delusion will be sent by God, so that they will believe the lie of Antichrist and will be condemned for rejecting the truth of Jesus Christ and for having pleasure in unrighteousness ( 2 Thess 2:11-12). Rather than turning to the Bible and understanding about the importance of the warning sign of ‘the abomination of desolation’ that Jesus gave, they will be having more pleasure in unrighteousness of money, false religion, sexual fulfillment and will be living a hedonistic lifestyle of self-indulgence. Just like the religious Pharisees, Sadducees and other Jews, even though they were in expectation and asked Jesus Himself whether He was the Messiah, yet they were not able to receive Jesus as their Messiah because of a proud attitude of religiosity in rejecting the baptism of John (Luke 3:15-16; Matt 11:18-19; 24:12; Luke 18:9, 14). The Pharisees and lawyers were very religious, but got deluded because of rejecting the baptism of John which is the will of God for them at the time of Jesus’ first coming (Luke 7:28-35). The baptism of John symbolizes quality decision taken by a person to live with an attitude of repentance toward God (Luke 3:3, 10-15). So will also be in the end time, if the believer’s watch and pray and live with an attitude of repentance toward God, they will be raptured or else they will be left behind.
‘Abomination of desolation’ is a seasonal signpost of the imminent rapture ahead for the believer’s. The Luke warm believer’s and unbelievers will be sleeping through these times of warning because of God sent delusion, the reason God will send delusion is because of people's wrong motives and heart attitudes in rejecting the truth of Jesus Christ (2 Thess 2:9-12). The unbeliever’s because of delusion will be totally deceived and will not know or understand spiritually the significance of the signs of the times [i.e. abomination of desolation]. The Luke-warm believer’s can be compared to Lot’s wife who came under judgmental wrath of God because of turning back disobediently. The turning back of believers from true faith is known as apostasy. Exactly like Lot’s wife as many as those who will turn away to apostasy during the end time will come under judgmental wrath of God and will be left behind during rapture (Luke 17:31-37; 2 Thess 2:3-4).
If the ‘abomination of desolation’ is a sign that distorts the doctrine of imminence, what about the rebirth of the nation of Israel? Had it not in the past generations before a century and so forth ago [i.e. the news of the rebirth of the nation of Israel before the rapture] distort the doctrine of imminence of rapture for that generation and all the previous generations? Because any way they must have questioned that Jesus will not come back and rapture the Church until the fig tree of the nation of Israel be gathered together again to be formed as a nation and get stronger. If this does not distort the message of the rapture of the Church, then ‘abomination of desolation’ before the rapture too does not distort the doctrine of imminence. And also does not all the other signs of the end times distort the doctrine of imminence of rapture? Such cramped up logic can easily be dismissed. Praise the Lord!
3) The Rapture and the removal of the “Restrainer” will not occur at the same time
The Thessalonica Church became afraid due to the false report that they had entered the Day of the Lord [i.e. Tribulation] and had somehow missed the Rapture (2 Thess 2:1-2). Apostle Paul assured them that the Day of the Lord will not come unless the falling away [i.e. Apostasy] comes first and the man of sin [i.e. Antichrist] is revealed [to the believers], the son of perdition, who will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he will sit as God in the temple of God [i.e. after breaking the 7 years peace treaty with the nation of Israel exactly at midpoint of three and half years which is called ‘abomination of desolation’ (Mark 13:14; Dan 9:27)], showing himself that he is God (2 Thess 2:3-4). After this in 2 Thess 2:6-7 Paul said, “And now you [i.e. believers] know what is restraining, that he [i.e. Antichrist] may be revealed in his own time [i.e. at the appointed time after 3 1/2 years of peace treaty during the abomination of desolation (Dan 7:25; 9:27; Rev 13:5-8; 2 Thess 2:3-4) till the next 3 1/2 years gets over]. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He [i.e. the Holy Spirit] who now restrains will do so until [i.e. at the appointed time of ‘abomination of desolation’] He [i.e. the Holy Spirit] is taken out of the way”. From the preceding verses we know that only at God’s appointed time the Holy Spirit will loosen Himself from opposing the ruler ship of Antichrist and will allow him to rule the world because of God’s timing. The Antichrist from this time onwards will rule over the saints too because they will be given in to his hands by God for a limited time of 3 1/2 years. But the good news is, before God starts to pour out His wrath through the seals, trumpets and bowls judgment upon the wicked; He will rapture the Church (Luke 17:27, 29; Matt 24:38-39). So the bottom line is, any moment after the ‘abomination of desolation’, the rapture may take place. After the rapture of the Church, Antichrist’s identity will be revealed to others who will be left behind (2 Thess 2:8). At that time they will have only one choice, either they can stand for their faith and die as martyrs or else accept the cheap deliverance [i.e. benefits and physical comforts] of Antichrist by receiving the 666 seal of Antichrist on one’s right hand or on their foreheads. As a result many saints will be beheaded and will die as martyrs. As we know that the Holy Spirit works in salvation the same way before the rapture and after the rapture (John 16:8-11; 1 John 5:7-8; Acts 2:20-21; Matt 24:29-31; Rom 10:1-13), He will be restraining only the appearance of Antichrist on the world ruler ship scenario until the ‘abomination of desolation’. The Holy Spirit will be exerting a restraining of the power of Antichrist from taking over all the earth before God’s set appointed timing of 3 1/2 years which is the midpoint of the peace treaty, when he will break the covenant with the nation of Israel and will politically, spiritually and tyrannically rule over the whole world including the saints (2 Thess 2:7-8; Rev 13:7-10, 5; Rom 13:1). This is one of the reason Jesus told the believers living in Judea to run to the mountains the moment they see the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the temple, because from the temple Antichrist will seat himself to rule the world (2 Thess 2:4). During this time, only those obedient, watchful and praying believers will escape the Tribulation wrath of God and the iron fisted persecution of Antichrist clutches (Luke 21:36). The Church is only an agent and an instrument in which the restrainer resides and is acting against the spirit of Antichrist till God’s appointed time comes [i.e. ‘abomination of desolation’] in which the Holy Spirit will completely give the saints in to the hands of Antichrist (1 John 3:24 – 4:1-6; Dan 7:25). Immediately Satan will stir Antichrist to kill and persecute the saints but the Church will be raptured (Rev 12:13-17).
4) The Tribulation will be mainly for Israel’s redemption and also for the wicked idolatrous world
Jer 30:4-7 describes the Tribulation as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” which will come suddenly upon the nation of Israel “like a woman in labor…”. From the preceding verses we can see that the Tribulation will mainly targeted towards the nation of Israel and thus will go through God’s wrath because of rejecting the true Messiah when He came to save them (Deut 18:18-22, 15-17). God has been waiting for the past two thousand years for the nation of Israel to turn back and receive the true Messiah Jesus with repentance (Acts 3:22-26, 19-21). Jesus told all the people to be careful, prayerful and watchful in order to escape the unprecedented never before seen or heard Tribulation, which will come upon the whole world starting from the nation of Israel (Matt 24:15-22, 29; Mark 13:14-20, 24, 33-37). Those people who will heed to the words of Jesus will be raptured before the Tribulation will begin. In all the Gospel Books except the Book of John, all have described both to the Jewish and world audience to be watchful, seeing, understanding and perceiving the signs of the end times so that they all may prayerfully be able to escape the Tribulation before all hell breaks forth on the earth. Also, Revelation 12 describes metaphorically a woman who gives birth and has to flee due to persecution during the Tribulation. The context shows that the woman represented by the people of God is both Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament (Rev 12:1; Gen 37:9-10; Rev 12:10-11, 17). God’s people are very close to God and are chosen to be intimate with Him both in the Old Testament and the New Testament times. So only the nation of Israel was compared symbolically by God to a betrothed woman in the Old Testament and the Church is compared to a bride in the New Testament (Hosea 2:19-20; 3:1-2; Jer 3:20; Eph 5:23-27; Rev 19:7-8; 2 Cor 11:2). The kingdom of God [i.e. the movement of the Holy Spirit] was taken from the nation of Israel and has been given to the Church two thousand years ago (Matt 21:43). So only when prophet Ezekiel saw the nation of Israel at the latter days of the end times he saw only a nation of hopeless dead bones without the spirit and life of the Holy Spirit (Ezek 37:1-4; John 6:63). But God has promised the nation of Israel that He will infuse the Spirit of life in to it and will place the nation of Israel in its own land peacefully under the Messiah (Ezek 37:5-14). This will happen only after the Tribulation when the Spirit of grace and supplication will be poured out on the house of Israel, then they will mourn for the Messiah Jesus to come and rescue them from the complete destruction by Antichrist (Zech 12:10-11; Matt 24:29-30; Rev 1:7). Then Jesus in the battle of Armageddon will come and rescue the nation of Israel and will establish His kingdom from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth for a thousand years (Joel 3:1-2, 16-17, Zech 14:1-5; 12:11; 2 Kings 23:29-30; Rev 16:14-16; Rev 19:11-16, 19-21; 20:4-6). Two third of all the Jews will be killed through the unprecedented Tribulation holocaust and only one third will be left who will be there to receive Jesus their Messiah when He will arrive to battle and rescue the nation of Israel and to rule the world for a Millennium (Zech 13:8-9). These texts emphasizes that the Tribulation is meant for the redemption of the Jewish people first and foremost.
Firstly, if we ask the question, why are Jews the object of persecution during the Tribulation?
(i) Satan hates Jews for giving the world the scriptures and thus ultimately the Messiah as prophesied in it, who has become the salvation of the world (John 4:22; Rom 1:16-17; 3:1-2; 9:4-5).
(ii) Satan wants to destroy the Jews completely because He knows that God is going to renew and restore His original plan of blessing the world through the nation of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital for a Millennium (Gen 12:3; Isaiah 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-5; Rev 20:4-6; Isaiah 11:4-10; Hosea 2:18; Isaiah 65:20-25; 27:6).
Secondly, the Tribulation time God’s wrath is for the idolatrous people of the world to repent from their evil (Rev 16:2, 5-6, 9-11).
Thirdly, Israel has to be brought to hopelessness and despair before it will humbly acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah (Matt 23:39; Luke 13:35).
Fourthly, Israel need to be judged by God because they will accept the idolatrous false prophet and the false messiah in to their temple as though they are the real Prophet Elijah and their True Messiah (John 5:43; Matt 24:26; 2 Thess 2:3-4; Rev 13:1-18). These Jews will be deceived by the false prophet and the Antichrist because of the delusion sent by God, that they should believe the lie because they did not receive the love of the truth [i.e. Good News of Jesus Christ], that they might be saved (2 Cor 4:4; 1 Cor 1:23; Gal 3:28). They all will be condemned who will not believe the truth of Jesus as their Messiah but will have pleasure in unrighteousness ( 2 Thess 2:9-12).
After the Tribulation gets over, the final battle of Armageddon will take place. This final battle will be used by God for Israel’s redemption and judgment on the wicked Antichrist, false prophet and the nations that hate Israel and its God (Matt 24:29-30; Dan 12:1-3; Rev 19:17-21; Ezek 38-39; Joel 2:32; Isaiah 66:15-16; Zech 14:2-5). The Church will not fit in all of these scenario we had discussed concerning God’s judgment toward the nation of Israel and the wicked world, and hence have to be removed [i.e. take flight or be caught up] before Tribulation begins (Luke 17:27, 29; Matt 24:20, 38-42).
5) The Tribulation is not for the Church
The Tribulation is not for the Church [i.e. those who are saved from Christ’s resurrection to the Rapture] but only for the unbelieving world to repent and receive the Messiah who will come to rule the earth for a Millennium (Luke 17:27-30; Matt 24:38-44; Rev 16:9, 11; Matt 24:30; Rev 20:4). Apostle Paul encouraged and comforted all the Thessalonian believer’s in the first century with the message of rapture when they were facing much persecution from the world ( 1 Thess 5:4, 9-11; 2 Thess 1:6-10). The believer’s of course have faced trials, tribulations and much suffering throughout history. In fact Apostle Paul himself said that all the believers who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12). Apostle Paul himself endured great suffering for the sake of the proclamation of the gospel message along with the first century Church which also endured suffering for the sake of the gospel (2 Tim 3:11; 2 Thess 1:4; 2 Cor 7:4). But God has set forth, a special time of Tribulation at the end time to test those who dwell on earth and to purge the world from its wickedness and set the Messiah Jesus Christ on His rightful throne to rule the world in righteousness (Luke 17:26-30; Rev 3:10; Isaiah 11:4; Rev 11:11, 15). Thus as that hour of trial descends upon the earth, the watchful and prayerful body of believers will first be raptured out of the earth just as in the case of Noah and Lot who were rescued with their family, and then the Tribulation and destruction from God will descend upon the earth (Mark 13:32-37; Luke 21:34-36). The Bible clearly says that the Lord will rescue the righteous out of trials and temptation, and will reserve the unjust under punishment for the Day of Judgment (2 Peter 2:9; Proverbs 11:8; Rev 3:10). So Christians suffering and persecution for the sake of the gospel and the Tribulation/Day of the Lord are entirely different.
The end time true believers are promised by Jesus that He will keep them from the hour of trial [i.e. Tribulation] which shall come upon the whole world, if they keep His commandments to endure patiently (Rev 3:10). The end time Church has again and again been told by Jesus to endure through persecution which shall arise against them when they will be proclaiming the gospel in all the world before the end starts (Matt 24:9-14; Mark 13:9-13). Once the end starts the Church will be taken away and God’s wrath will come upon the whole wide world.
Apostle Paul affirmed this fact of rapture when he said, “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:9). Also Paul has stated in the same Book that “… [We are] to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come [i.e. Tribulation]” (1 Thess 1:10). The bottom line is, because of abounding lawlessness and sin, Tribulation wrath of God will come upon the unbelievers. But because the believers are justified and covered by the blood of Jesus, they will escape God’s wrath just like the Israelites escaped the wrath of God because of the lamb’s blood on their door and lintels, when God judged the Egyptians for their wickedness and idolatry (Eph 5:9; Col 3:5-6; Rom 1:18; 5:9). Then all the believer’s will be rewarded by Christ during the marriage of the Lamb for all the work they have done for Him and then will return with Him in glory during Christ’s Second Coming to the earth (Matt 10:41-42; 1 Cor 3:12-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 19:7-9; Luke 14:14; John 5:22, 28-29; Heb 9:27-28; Col 3:4; 1 Cor 15:42-43). This shows that the Church is not appointed to endure the wrath of God which will come upon the whole world for its wickedness during Tribulation (Rev 3:10; Matt 24:21-22; Luke 17:27, 29).
6) God’s wrath involves only a set time with in the three and half years of Antichrist’s rule on earth, which will start from the ‘abomination of desolation’ at the midpoint of 7 years peace treaty with the nation of Israel
Jesus never ever told even in one place, the time period in which the Tribulation will start and end. Instead He told that God has already set a time for Tribulation to happen after the ‘abomination of desolation’, but for the left behind believer’s sake those days of God’s wrath will be reduced or else they too will die completely in the wrath of God (Matt 15:15-22; Mark 13:14-20). Many speculate that the tribulation will be there for whole of the 7 years after the Antichrist makes a peace covenant with the nation of Israel (Dan 9:27). But the reality is, there is not even one verse in the Bible which can prove this 7-year Tribulation argument. Instead the Bible clearly says that the saints shall be given in to the hand of Antichrist only for three and half year period (Dan 7:25; Rev 13:4-8). The Bible also says that the saints need to be patiently holding their faith during this time period after which the Antichrist who led the saints in to captivity will go in to captivity at Christ’s Second Coming (Rev 13:10; 19:14, 19-21).
My question is, how can the Tribulation be seven years when the Bible itself says that the saints will be given in to the hands of Antichrist only for three and half years? So the bottom-line is, the wrath of God will happen only within this three and half years which starts with the ‘abomination of desolation’ (Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14; 2 Thess 2:3-4). Apostle Paul clearly has told that the rapture will not happen until an apostasy comes first and the man of sin is revealed in the temple of God showing himself that he is God, which will start exactly from the time of the ‘abomination of desolation’ (2 Thess 2:3-4, 6-8; Mark 13:14). This is the reason Jesus told all those who are in Judea to flee to the mountains the moment they see the ‘abomination of desolation’, so that they will not be caught up in the evil clutches of Antichrist to be deceived or else die as martyrs before rapture happens (Matt 24:15-21). Rapture may happen anytime after this seasonal sign post event of the ‘abomination of desolation’. Thus Jesus told the believers to watch and pray so that they will be caught up in flight during rapture and not be present during the time of Tribulation (Matt 24:20-21; Mark 13:18-19). If the believers are not seriously watching and praying during this time, they will end up realizing that the rapture has already taken place only during Tribulation in which their escaping flight out of Antichrist hold will be impossible (Matt 24:38-42). But for these left behind elect’s sake, the Tribulation will be shortened (Matt 24:22). Thus it proves again that there cannot be a 7-year Tribulation wrath of God.
After the Tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven will be shaken (Matt 24:29; Mark 13:24; Rev 6:12-17). Then the sign of the Son of Man [i.e. Jesus Christ] will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn. This mourning will be just like the Israelites when they were oppressed by Pharaoh before God delivered them through Moses (Exodus 2:23-25; 14:30-31). Then God will acknowledge them and will send Jesus Christ to deliver them out of the evil bondage of Antichrist and his associates. Then they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. This is the time of the last trumpet in which all the martyrs of all ages along with all the beheaded Tribulation saints will rise up in their glorious bodies (Matt 24:30-31; 1 Cor 15:50-54; Rev 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 20:4-6; Matt 25:31-46).
The Last Trumpet
The Greek word for ‘last’ is ‘eschatos’ which means ‘last in time or in place’. The last trumpet will be the last of all the trumpets in time and place in the end time scenario of the Bible. As the name itself conveys the idea that it will surely be the Last blown trumpet of all time. Last trumpet means there will be no more trumpets blown after this sounding. During the rapture the trumpet of God will be blown for the believers (1 Thess 4:14-18). After the rapture, the tribulation trumpets are blown for the unbelievers (Rev 8:2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12; 9:1, 13; 11:15). After the Tribulation, the Second Coming trumpet [Note: the singularity of the language] will be blown and this is the last trumpet in which death will be swallowed up in victory (Matt 24:30-31; 1 Cor 15:50-54). If we ask the question, is there any more trumpets described in the Bible after this event? The answer is a clear no. Thus the last trumpet will be the one blown at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The Tribulation trumpets may have started to be blown immediately from the starting time of Tribulation, but the sounding of the seventh angel will be just before the final end of God’s wrath. After the sounding of the seventh angel the wrath of God through the opening of the seals will be particularly directed towards Antichrist and his followers within a very short period of time (Rev 11:15-19; 15:1-8; 16:1-21). This will infuriate the Antichrist further to gather together the nations to fight against Christ at Armageddon (Rev 16:12-16). Immediately after this Tribulation will end, the sign of the coming of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. After this sign Jesus will come back to the earth with a great sound of the Last Trumpet.
Even though there are 114 references to the trumpets in the Bible, clearly the Bible shows that the final trumpet will be sounded only at the time of Christ’s Second Coming to the earth in which “death will be swallowed up in victory” forever (1 Cor 15:54). After this event, because Devil will be thrown in to the prison pit and locked for a millennium (Rev 20:1-3), there will no more accidental death or a cruel death of a righteous person. But sinners will only will die pre-maturely because of the just curse of God that will come upon them (Isaiah 65:20).
All the seals, trumpets and bowls are together comprehensively can be considered to be the Judgmental wrath of God. The seals are broken by Jesus Himself and the resultant wrath released upon the earth which implies that it is the wrath of God. The seals are orchestration of God’s end time timetable events through men who will directly be influenced by the demonic beings which are represented by horses of various colors. Each seals are God’s timing for each end time events till all will be over at Jesus Second Coming (Rev 6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12; 8:1). The trumpets will be judgments pronounced by the two prophets for the whole period of Tribulation from starting to the end (Rev 11:3, 6; Amos 3:6-8; Hosea 8:1; Joel 2:1; Jeremiah 4:5, 6; Ezekiel 33:3-7). The seven bowls are contained within the seventh trumpet and is a part of it which will be specifically directed towards Antichrist and his followers (Rev 11:15-19; 15:1-8; 16:1-21). At the end of all these Judgments, the Tribulation wrath of God will be over (Rev 15:1). The bowl judgments at the end of Tribulation will thus end the wrath of God. The seven angels that blow the trumpets and initiate each of the trumpet judgments are given their trumpets at the throne of God (Rev 8:2), thus they are starting point of the wrath of God along with the seals. The opening of the seals runs parallel along with the trumpets. Thus the seals also represent the events of catastrophes of the end time which is also the wrath of God.
7) The Old Testament and the Book of Revelation leave the Church out of the Tribulation
The focus of the Tribulation will be to pour out God’s absolute wrath as in the days of Noah and Lot on the wicked and corrupt world system of governance (Luke 17:26, 28; Matt 24:38; Isaiah 24:21-22; Zeph 3:8; Jer 10:10; 1 Thess 5:3; 2 Thess 2:12). This wrath will be God’s way of destroying the unrepentant sinners from the earth and punishing the world system of governance for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity (Isaiah 13:6-13). The focus of the Tribulation will also be on the Jewish people, so that God may restore His original plan, promise and purpose of the nation of Israel to be restored, by making them accept their true Messiah Jesus Christ in their hopeless situation at the final battle of Armageddon (Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Gen 12:1-3; Matt 23:39; Luke 13:35). When the true Messiah Jesus Christ is accepted by the nation of Israel, the world will be blessed by its existence (Luke 1:31-33; Jer 31:33, 34; Isaiah 42:1-7; 56:3-8; 49:3-6; Luke 2:32). All these wrath of God/the Day of the Lord’s wrath was addressed to the unbelievers and Jewish people only both in the Old and New Testament. The Church and the believer’s cannot be found in all the Biblical content concerning the Tribulation/Day of the Lord. The whole concept of the Church as a nation in all the world is a mystery to all the Old Testament prophets, they tried to inquire and find out the fact which was revealed through them, but it was hidden from them all (Matt 21:43; 16:13-19; 28:19-20; 11:25-27; 13:10-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12). Most of the Old Testament prophets directly focused on the nation of Israel and saw the nations of the world as their enemies. The Jewish Messianic believer’s of the end time who receive Jesus Christ as their Messiah, Lord and Savior will also become a part of the end time Church as in the first century (Matt 24:15-28; Galatians 2:8; 3:26-29; Acts 15:8-11).
The Chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation covers the Church age, after this the Church is not at all mentioned till the Tribulation/Day of the Lord which starts from Chapter 6 gets over in Chapter 18. Only in Chapter 19, the Church is mentioned in the texts and can be found celebrating the marriage of the lamb and not suffering through Tribulation/Day of the Lord, after which the Church will majestically return with the king of kings to rule the planet earth for a Millennium.
8) The Church will be busy celebrating in heaven during the Tribulation/Day of the Lord on earth
The rapture will take place any moment immediately after the ‘abomination of desolation’ takes place at the mid-point of the peace covenant [i.e. at 3 1/2 years from the starting time of the peace covenant which Antichrist will make with the nation of Israel (Dan 9:27)]. While the Tribulation will start immediately after the rapture, the Church will have three events ahead before Jesus will start to reign on earth. None of the three events that the Church will participate have anything to do with the suffering of the wicked world being destroyed by God’s wrath on earth.
(i) The Church will be judged by the Lord in the heaven. This judgment is clearly and distinctly described in 2 Cor 5:10. In this judgment the believers will receive the promised blessing that Jesus guaranteed to all those who will hear His word and do it (Matt 10:40-42; Col 3:23-24). The believer who does wrong will be judged now and will be justified later (Col 3:25; 1 Peter 4:17; Prov 11:31; 1 Cor 5:1-5; 1 Tim 1:20; 1 Cor 11:29-32; 1 Peter 4:6; Rom 8:33-35). The believers will be judged [i.e. chastened] on earth for their disobedience so that being judged in the flesh, there will be no condemnation for them even to eternity (Heb 12:3-13; Rom 8:1; 1 Peter 4:6). This will make God just and at the same time the justifier of one who believes in Him (Rom 3:26). The believer’s suffering in the flesh will make them cease from sin and will make them yield peaceable fruit of righteousness (1 Peter 4:1; Heb 12:11). This judgment will not come on believer’s who will judge themselves (1 Cor 11:31; Matt 7:1-5). The word used here in 2 Cor 5:10 for ‘may receive’ in Greek is ‘komizo’ which means ‘provide for, to take up or carry away in order to care for and preserve, to carry away, bear off, to carry, bear, bring to, to carry away for one's self, to carry off what is one's own, to bring back, to receive, obtain: the promised blessing, to receive what was previously one's own, to get back, receive back, recover’. The meaning of receiving does not convey even one time remotely of any wrath of God or punishment given to the believers, rather it is the time of receiving one’s promised blessings for eternity. The terror of the Lord will only be for those who will not be pleasing to Him by living carelessly without any faith in His promises. This type of people will be unbeliever’s who cannot be persuaded to live godly lives (2 Cor 5:9, 11). The Greek word used here for ‘judgment seat’ in 2 Cor 5:10 is ‘bema’ in Greek which means ‘a step, pace, the space which a foot covers, a foot-breath, a raised place mounted by steps, a platform, tribune of the official seat of a judge, of the judgment seat of Christ’. A raised platform mounted by steps was given traditionally to the Judge or governor in the Roman times to give speeches to its citizens and reward them or honor them in public. This indicates that the Judgment seat of Christ is only for the just saints of the Church age from the first century even up to the rapture (Psalm 1:5; John 5:28-29). Thus the ‘bema [judgment seat of Christ]’ is only for the believing citizens of heaven, whose names are written in the book of life (2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; Eph 2:19; Phil 3:20-21; Luke 10:19-20; Mark 16:17). This judgment on works is not to determine the eternal destiny, but to determine the degrees of reward for each individual believer. Each one will receive the reward for whatever they have done in their bodies (1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Cor 5:9-11; Heb 9:27-28). This is symbolically described as the marriage of the lamb in the Book of Revelation (Rev 19:7-8).
(ii) The next event on prophetic timetable for the Church is the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9). This marriage supper of the Lamb is God’s heavenly feast in which the whole heaven will be celebrating and feasting with the Lamb and its bride (Rev 19:9). Just after the marriage takes place in which the bride will be clothed and gifted with bridegroom’s gift during the marriage, then bridegroom [i.e. Christ (Matt 9:15)] will usually give a great feast to everyone in his country [i.e. friends, Old Testament saints, angels etc….]. Thus Christ will invite the whole heaven for this feast and there will be a great party (Luke 14:15-24). This great party of celebration is called the supper of the Lamb.
(iii) The third event is the supper of the great God in which Christ and His armies of saints will come from heaven to defeat the Antichrist and his right hand man the false prophet, who with the armies of all the kings of the earth will come to fight against Him in the battle of Armageddon (Rev 16:12-16; 19:11-21). They will be soundly defeated and literally all the birds of the air will feast on the fleshly bodies of the wicked people who accompanied Antichrist and the false prophet, after which Christ will start to rule on the earth (Rev 14:17-20; 19:17-18; 20:4-6).
There will be grand celebration on earth at the time in which Jesus will establish His Father’s kingdom on earth. This will be the latter part of the supper of the great God. Father God Himself will initiate the supper through the servants His angels to inaugurate the Millennium kingdom of Christ and His bride (Rev 19:17; Matt 24:29; 25:34; Luke 15:11-32; Psalm 103:20-21; 104:4; Matt 26:53; 3:16-17; 17:5-6; John 12:26-28). Jesus ate and drank with His disciples after His resurrection, but it was not that day which He described as “until that day [i.e. Millennium (Rev 20:4; Matt 19:28; 2 Peter 3:8)] …in My Father’s kingdom [on earth]” (Matt 26:29), which is the Millennium kingdom of God on earth prepared from the foundation of the world (Mark 14:25; Acts 10:41; Luke 24:41-43; Matt 25:34; Luke 22:29-30). This third event will start from heaven and will end on earth, all the successive things which will be fulfilled through this event will be related to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to the earth to establish His kingdom (Zech 14:1-21; Matt 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27; Rev 19:11-21).
9) Three categories of people will be present on earth during the judgment of nations
In the Judgment of Matt 25 there will be three categories of people present during the judgment. The sheep will be those first category who would have helped those Christians who will be man-hunted by the Antichrist during the Tribulation all over the world (Matt 25:33-40; Rev 13:7-8, 14-18). These people like Rehab in the Old Testament will be justified by their works of faith (Josh 2:4, 6; 6:17; Heb 11:31; James 2:24-25). The believing, unglorified, human remnant who will make it in to the sheep category will go on to produce the nations during the Millennium reign of Christ (Ezek 43:13-27; Isa 19:21; 65:20-22; Rev 20:7-10). This means that people need to come to Christ during the Tribulation yet after the Rapture to produce this Millennial Population. The souls of martyrs of all ages along with the beheaded Tribulation saints will be returning with Jesus Christ to be resurrected at the time of His Second Coming, just as the dead saints of the Church-era will come with Jesus to be resurrected during the Rapture (Rev 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 1 Thess 4:14, 16-17). These martyrs will get resurrected in their glorious bodies and will join Jesus Christ in ruling the earth for a thousand years (Rev 20:4-6; Matt 24:30-31; Mark 13:26-27). The second category of people will be the goats who would have accepted to worship Antichrist by receiving his seal for survival (Matt 25:33, 41-46; Rev 13:8, 13-18). These will not help the Christian brethren of Jesus, but would have hated them because of the fear of execution by Antichrist (Matt 24:9-14; Dan 11:32-35; Rev 20:4).
Both these categories of people discussed above will be present in their physical bodies, in which the righteous sheep follower’s of Jesus will be separated from the wicked goats by Jesus (John 10:1-5). Then the righteous people will be given passage in to the Millennial kingdom of Jesus and the wicked people will be killed and will go in to everlasting punishment (Matt 25:34, 46). These righteous people will live and populate the earth during the Millennium rule of Jesus.
The third category of people are those whom Jesus called as “these My brethren” (Matt 25:40), “least of these” (Matt 25:45). These are the Tribulation saints who would have got gathered together in their resurrected bodies at the time of the Last trumpet during Jesus’ Second Coming to the earth (Matt 24:31; 1 Cor 15:51-54; Rev 20:4-6). This third category of people will actually rule the earth with Jesus for a Millennium along with His bride the Church (Rev 20:4; Matt 19:28; Luke 22:29-30 Rev 19:7-8, 13-14, 15). This clearly shows that the moment Christ steps in to the earth to rule for a Millennium, there will surely be a resurrection for all the martyrs of all ages and the saints beheaded during the Tribulation (Rev 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 20:4). This resurrection will happen after the Tribulation (Matt 24:29, 30), the Rapture will happen before the Tribulation (Luke 17:26-37; 21:36). These glorified bodies of the saints will be like the angels in that they aren’t given in Marriage or reproduce (Matt 22:30; Mark 12:25).
10) The Bible shows God rescues the righteous from His wrath
A Christian will always face persecution in one way or other at the hands of man (John 16:33; Jam 1:2; 1 Peter 4:12-13; 1 Thess 3;3-4; Matt 10:22-23). In fact the Bible says that those who desire to live a godly life will face persecution (2 Tim 3:12). But God has set a specific time of Tribulation at the End Time to punish the world for its wickedness and to purge it from the evil which is destroying humankind. Jesus Himself has compared this End Time Tribulation with the time of Noah and Lot in which only both these families were rescued from God’s wrath (Luke 17:26-30). Rehab’s family was rescued from the wrath of God executed through the Israelites (Josh 6:16-18).
The Church has been symbolically compared by Apostle Peter to Noah’s ark which saved Noah’s family from God’s wrath and the baptism as the door through which we enter the ark [i.e. the Church] that Jesus is building (Acts2:38-39; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 16:30-31), which is able to save us from the filth of the flesh [i.e. Destructive nature of Satan which brings God’s condemnation and wrath] (1 Peter 3:20-21; John 10:7, 9). Here the Apostle Peter is also emphasizing that the Divine longsuffering of God is waiting [i.e. as in the days Noah when he preached righteousness to his generation through which many were condemned (Heb 11:7; 2 Peter 2:5)] for the Gospel to be preached in all the world so that each person may be given a chance to get in to the ark of Jesus Christ [i.e. the Church which Jesus is building (Matt 16:18)] to get saved from God’s coming Tribulation wrath of the end time and also the future White Throne Judgment (1 Peter 3:18-20; Mark 13:10; Rom 5:9; 1 Thess 1:10; 5:9; Rev 20:11-15). The Church being built by Jesus can be metaphorically compared to Noah building the ark. And the time taken for the Church to be fully built to maturity of the fullness of Christ can be compared to the time Noah finished building the ark (Eph 4:11-14; 5:25-27; Matt 24:14; Gen 6:13-22; 7:1-10) and the door [i.e. faith in Jesus Christ] through which we enter the Church being shut from the time of Rapture can be compared to that event in which God supernaturally shut the door of the ark so that there can be no escape from the Tribulation of God (Matt 24:20-21; Gen 7:16). The Tribulation itself can be compared to the flood waters that destroyed people (Gen 7:17-24; Matt 24:38-39; Luke 17:26-27). Thus the parallel drawn with Noah’s time shows that God will deliver the Church out of the Tribulation and only then God will destroy the evil world.
If God is taking away His people before His Tribulation wrath, could God protect His people through it? Yes He can and will protect 144,000 Jewish evangelists by sealing them on their foreheads for the purpose of the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the land of Israel, so that one third of the remnant of all Israel will receive the gospel through the Tribulation and thus will be left alive when Jesus return back to the earth at the time of His Second Coming (Rev 7:1-8; Zech 13:8-9; 12:10-11; 14:4-5; Matt 24:30). These people will be supernaturally protected through Tribulation like in the days of Moses when God protected the Israelites through the wrath of God aimed toward the wicked idolatrous Egyptians (Exodus 8:22; 9:4, 6, 26; 10:23; 11:6-7; 12:13). The Bible says that the slaughter of the believers during the Tribulation will be so massive and unprecedented that clearly shows that they will not be under the special protection of God (Rev 7:9-17; 20:4). Praise the Lord!