This idea that Christians around the globe will be “raptured up” while a world full of rebellious sinners inherit the great tribulation has spawned dozens of books and movies all profiting from a terrible and unfortunate set of circumstances. It is past time this deceived world learns the truth about what the bible reveals on this topic.
One way to get to the bottom of the rapture doctrine is by understanding this fundamental truth: The “wrath of God” and the “great tribulation” are not the same event.
The redeemed in Christ will not be harmed when the wrath of God is poured out on the wicked (1 Thessalonians 5:9). They will have been “raptured up” before that happens.
However, Christians will be present when the “great tribulation” unfolds on planet earth leading up to the time of Christ’s return. (Acts 14 :22; Romans 5:3; 8:35; 12:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Luke 21).
This is the single most important factor in why so many people misunderstand this subject. The “great tribulation” is much different than the “wrath of God”.
The bible clearly teaches “the rapture”, as it is commonly known, will take place before the “wrath of God” and after the “great tribulation”.
We will first examine the sermon on the mount of olives. For some reason, many people neglect to list Mark 13:24 among the passages they use when referring to the rapture. If you read the entire chapter of Mark 13, it clearly states the gathering together (rapture) takes place “after the tribulation”.
“after that tribulation… and then they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds… and then shall he send his angels… and shall gather together the elect from the four winds, from the uttermost parts of the earth…” (Mark 13 :24-27; emphasis mine).
Many believers choose to close their eyes and attempt to explain away Mark 13:24-27, claiming it does not say what it says. Nevertheless, it says after that tribulation, the faithful will be taken out of the way.
This passage shows a timeline that the tribulation comes first. Then the gathering together (rapture) takes place at a later time just before the wrath of God is poured out on the unrepentant and non-believing world.
The faithful will be taken out of the way after the tribulation (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21), but before the wrath of God (Revelation 7:1-4; 7:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).
In order for us to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture we would have to believe there are two different rapture events and therefore two separate “second comings” of Christ. Or rather, a second return of Christ, and a third return of Christ. The truth however is that the bible shows no evidence to support such a theology.
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