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. This type of thinking is commonly referred to as the “preterist” view. They believe Christ had already raptured the church in 70 A.D. during Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem. The truth however is that the bible, in its entirety, shows no evidence to support such a theology. If the preterist view were correct, there would exist an unfathomable peace on earth (Isaiah 2:4; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21; 22). But there is no world peace. There is only chaos, disorder, and lawlessness among the nations.
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Preparing Christians for Tribulation
We need to spiritually prepare ourselves, our friends, our families, and anyone else who will listen for what may very well be coming in our lifetime. Those who spiritually prepare themselves for the tribulation will have spiritual strength in these dark times. They will not be shaken because they know no matter what they are faced with in this life, they will escape the wrath of God (Revelation 9:13-10:7).
Those who had the blood of an innocent lamb sprinkled on their doorposts escaped the plagues of Egypt. In a similar way, the blood of the Lamb has been poured out in our hearts and minds which is the seal of God. God’s seal will protect us during later parts of the great tribulation, and all of the wrath of God to come.
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This is something we desperately need to understand. Here is why the pre-tribulation rapture is such a dangerous teaching.
A great majority of believers, who were falsely led to believe they will be “raptured up” before the great tribulation, are going to lose their faith during the tribulation. If the darkest parts of the end times tribulation begins during a period of belief when we are all still waiting to be “raptured up”, what will happen to the faith of these believers? Their faith will be lost, that’s what. Why would these deceived souls put their faith in a God who never fulfilled his promise to take them out of harm’s way – which they were falsely let to believe was going to happen at the “pre-tribulation rapture”? Think about it, the people who were taught to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture may very well lose their faith in Christ during the great tribulation and fall down before a false messiah when he appears offering peace and stability. Some may even believe their messiah has arrived.
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