RAPTURE TIMING: IS IT IMPORTANT?

The Church is at war with itself over Rapture timing. It’s a Rapture Civil War. What are the motivations of the two groups, and what is a solution to this war?

The Blessed Hope is the return of Jesus – it’s our only HOPE.  But, some Christians refer to a “theory” about that return as the Blessed Hope. And in so doing, are they making “the Blessed Hope” Idolatry?

Many Christians are trusting in man-made theories to protect them rather than in Jesus himself. They are making assumptions about when certain things will happen and choosing to prepare – or not to prepare – for the end times based solely on these theories.

Nelson presents a truly balanced approach on how the church should approach the end times and where to put our hope.

Watch this video to discover why it is important to prepare for the end times regardless of what Rapture theory you believe.

PREWRATH RAPTURE VERSUS PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE

Alan Kurschner on the flaws of a Pretribulation Rapture

Prewrath eschatology has exposed a fatal flaw in pretribulationism. It has shown that there are clear passages in the Bible that teach that certain, discernible, prophesied events will occur before the day of the Lord: the Antichrist and the apostasy (2 Thess 2:3), celestial disturbance (Joel 2:30-31), Elijah will return (Mal 4:5), the wicked saying “peace and safety” (1 Thess 5:2–3).

Pretribulation theology has traditionally taught that the rapture will occur on the same day that the day of the Lord begins, then any event that occurs before the day of the Lord will also have to occur before the rapture. This, of course, is problematic for the pretribulation position, because their entire theological pretribulation system is based on imminence, the belief that no prophesied events or signs can happen before the rapture.

Because of this crack in their system, untold numbers of pretribulational Christians in the last two decades have become prewrath in their eschatology and have rejected their previous pretribulation belief system. To be sure, there are many “pretribs” who have attempted to explain away this biblical contradiction to their system in various ways.  One of the most common attempts to do so, and one that is growing in more popularity, has resulted for them needing to create a new dispensation and forcing it between the rapture when the church age dispensation is completed and the seven-year tribulation dispensation. So in essence they are creating a “gap” between the rapture and the seven-year period, a gap of time they claim that these “before the day of the Lord” events will occur. In this way, they attempt to maintain the doctrine of imminence. To place these events before the rapture in their system would be fatal to their theology.

Here is the problem: Their claim that the rapture is disconnected from the day when the day of the Lord’s wrath begins is without support. In fact, Scripture is quite consistent that the rapture and the beginning of the day of the Lord’s wrath occur on the same day, they are back-to-back events, not separated by days, weeks, months, or—I have even heard some pretrib teachers claim—years. I have covered this before herehere, and here.

Their interpretation is a  deus ex machina in order to protect their imminence theology, so much so they are willing to grab out of thin air and inject a whole, new, distinct dispensation into God’s redemptive plan. Their dispensation-itus condition exposes their flawed theology when they feel the need to contrive a new dispensation in God’s plan when a contradiction is pointed out to them.

Let me give a plug for Alan’s book Prewrath: A Very Short Introduction to the Great Tribulation, Rapture, and Day of the Lord

SIGNS TO WATCH FOR, PRIOR TO JESUS RETURN

Jesus does not teach a sign-less, imminent rapture. There are key discernible events/signs that must happen before Jesus returns for his church.

Jesus gave us due warning with signs/events that will occur prior to His return: 

  1. Israel will be reestablished – Jesus told the parable of the fig tree (Israel) when you see it sprouting (reborn). “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.” Luke 21;31
  2. “False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.Remember, I have told you ahead of time. Mark 13:21-22
  3.  “And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6
  4. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:7
  5. There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
  6. “Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him… Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God. Surely you recall that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1–5
  7. “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and takes the mark on his forehead or his hand, that person will also drink of the wine of God’s anger that has been mixed undiluted in the cup of his wrath, and he will be tortured with fire and sulphur in front of the holy angels and in front of the Lamb… This requires the steadfast endurance of the saints—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to their faith in Jesus. Revelation 14:9–12
  8. So when you see the abomination of desolation–spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.

Sadly, much of the church has been deceived into believing a Pretribulation Rapture. The Bible clearly teaches in these Scriptures that the Saints will experience tribulation even great tribulation. However, the Bible also teaches the Saints will be raptured at the sixth seal before God pours out His wrath upon the earth in the trumpet and bowl judgements.

PREWRATH RAPTURE BEFORE GOD’S WRATH IS POURED OUT IN TRUMPET AND BOWL JUDGEMENTS

As I have outlined previously, my position on the rapture of the Saints is Prewrath. I have presented articles by Alan Kurschner on the Prewrath position before but this one on Revelation 19 is excellent. I have also added a video produced last year where Joel Richardson interviews Alan on the Prewrath position. I am confident it will enlarge your understanding of Jesus Second Coming and give you a better perspective on how awe inspiring and wonderful is our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Let me know what you think.

Revelation 19 Does NOT Depict the Start of the Second Coming

Prewrath eschatology teaches that the second coming (parousia) of Jesus begins—not in Rev 19— but rather between the opening of the sixth and seventh seals in Rev 7 with the rapture and resurrection occurring with the innumerable multitude of believers appearing in heaven out of the period of the great tribulation.

This is followed immediately with the day of the Lord’s wrath starting with the opening of the scroll when the seventh and last seal is broken. The trumpets and bowls then release God’s judgement upon the wicked. The battle of Armageddon is one of the very last judgements in the complex-whole of God’s eschatological wrath being depicted in Rev 19—the grand finale, if you will. Revelation 19 is not about deliverance, it is wholly about judgement.

Practically every other end-time position (pretrib, posttrib, amill, historical premill, and so on) assumes that the second coming begins in Rev 19. They virtually never argue for this—they simply assume it. Besides all the evidence that points to the second coming beginning in Rev 7 with the deliverance of God’s people and the ensuing eschatological judgements in the trumpets and bowls, here are a few more reasons:

“In the first place, the passage [Rev 19] does not have features commonly associated with the Parousia in the Synoptic Gospels and in Paul. There is no mention of Christ coming on the clouds (Matt 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; Luke 21:27), accompanying angels (Matt 13:41, 49; 16:27; 24:31; 25:31;  Mark 8:38; 13:27; 2 Thess 1:7) or the gathering in of the elect (Matt 24:31, 40–41; Mark 13:27; cf. Matt 13:41, 49; 1 Thess 4:17; 1 Cor 15:52). The description of Christ on a white horse is not found in any of the Parousia passages. Patently, the interest in this passage is not in the faithful but in the destruction of evil-doers. In any case, the faithful are not on earth waiting to be delivered, but in heaven [with resurrected bodies]. To interpret the ‘coming’ of 19:11–21 as the Second Coming, with the removal of the faithful from the earth, runs counter to the strong interest in the earth in Revelation.” R. Jack McKelvey “The Millennium and the Second Coming” In Studies in the Book of Revelation, edited by Steve Moyise (New York: T&T Clark, 2001) 86.

In addition, last year Joel Richardson interviewed me on his videocast on this very topic: