The Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Falling Away

The Bible gives us a clear understanding of when the Lord will return

"Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" 
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).
What first must be established is knowing that the Bible teaches of only one event where those who are alive and remain are taken up to be with the Lord when Christ returns for His last time. This is known as the Day of the Lord found throughout scripture. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, we can see that these verses speak of the Day of the Lord where all believers will be gathered unto Him (Jesus). You will find that this will happen after the Antichrist is revealed. Already we can void the idea of a rapture that occurs before the Antichrist takes the stage.

Does scripture allow us to know a time-frame in which Christ will make His return after the Antichrist sits in the temple, and what will occur in between? Yes.
"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).
These verses affirm that both the alive and remaining being caught up at the Day of the Lord are speaking of the same event. Let us connect the dots correlating key points throughout scripture that relates to this single event, the Day of the Lord.

Key points from 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18:
• The alive and remaining gathered
• The resurrection of the dead gathered
• The Lord descending from heaven
• With the trumpet of God
• With the voice of an archangel
"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened" (Matthew 24:21-22).
(Do not think because Jesus said for the elect's sake those days will be shortened, that this is referring to the pre-tribulation rapture, because the following verses below show that the elect are gathered after the tribulation of those days)
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:29-31).
Key points from Matthew 24:21-22 and 29-31:
• Flesh will be saved (people kept alive until the Lord returns)
• The angels will gather His people from the four winds
• The Lord descending from heaven on the clouds with power and great glory
• With a great sound of a trumpet
• Time of great tribulation, "such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be"
“At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12).
Key points from Daniel 12:
• People will be delivered (rescued)
• People will be resurrected
• Michael stands up for Gods people, who is an archangel
• Time of trouble, "such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time"
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
Key points from 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:
• Those who do not sleep (die) will be changed
• Those who sleep will be raised (resurrected) and changed
• The trumpet will sound
I have created a table below aligning all the key points of scriptures shared above so it may be easier to connect each one. Take some time to look over the list to see how they correlate among one another speaking of the same event.
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18
Matthew 24:21-22 & 29-31
Daniel 12
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
• The alive and remaining gathered
• Flesh will be saved (people kept alive until the Lord returns)
• People will be delivered (rescued)
• Those who do not sleep (die) will be changed
• The resurrection of the dead gathered
• The angels will gather His people from the four winds
• People will be resurrected
• Those who sleep will be raised (resurrected) and changed
• With the trumpet of God
• With a great sound of a trumpet
• The (last) trumpet will sound
• The Lord descending from heaven
• The Lord descending from heaven on the clouds with power and great glory
• With the voice of an archangel
• Michael stands up for God's people, who is an archangel
• Time of great tribulation, "such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be"
• Time of trouble, "such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time"
In 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, scripture reveals to us more detail about this trumpet call being seen throughout the related scriptures above. We are told that this will be the last trumpet. Where in the Bible do we hear of trumpet calls, and more specifically the last trumpet?
"...but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets" (Revelation 10:7).
In the book of Revelation we are told there will be 7 trumpet calls that occur in the last generation leading up to Christ appearing in the clouds with His holy angels. In Revelation chapter 11 we are shown where this last (7th) trumpet will be positioned in the timeline of the end time events:
"Then the seventh angel sounded (the 7th and last trumpet): And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:

“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:15-18).
Revelation 11:15-18 clearly shows that this 7th (last) trumpet will be at the end of the great tribulation. For we see that after the 7th angel has sounded that God has begun to reign and to bring judgement upon the dead, as also told of in Daniel 12 and Revelation 20:11-15 (Great White Throne Judgement).
"The One who is and who was and *who is to come" (Revelation 11:16),
that is Jesus, we can see makes His return,
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days..." in Matthew 24:29.
By highlighting key points from these verses, we can make the correlation across all scriptures presented that they all intertwine and concur that when Jesus returns and gathers His people, both those who are alive and those who sleep, will be after the great tribulation, at the 7th (last) trumpet.

I would like to address some commonly used scripture used by those who claim a pre-tribulation rapture. One common objection I have heard:
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ"                           (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
What must be distinguished is that there is the wrath of God, as well as the wrath of Satan. Paul is the writer of 1 Thessalonians and what was the end of his life?  The book of Revelation not only speaks of the wrath of God, but also the wrath of Satan working through the beast system:
"...Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time" (Revelation 12:12).
In these last day events, the wrath of God comes after upon all those who worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark. And of course there is the eternal wrath of God that abides upon those who refused to receive the knowledge of the truth and chose to live their lives separately from God, and therefore they have gone to hell leading to the day of judgement, and then into the lake of fire.

Another verse I have heard to try and point out the reality of a pre-tribulation rapture:
"Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth" (Revelation 3:10).
What needs to be defined is the meaning of the word "keep" used in this verse. It is the Greek word "tereo" which means to guard, watch over, attend to carefully. So this has nothing to do with God taking His people out of the world early by a pre-trib rapture, but rather preserving some of His people through the time of tribulation. This totally correlates with what was established previously in this sermon where Jesus will return after the tribulation of them days and gather His people whether alive or asleep.

I have read through other statements making the case for a pre-tribulation rapture, and most are of wishful thinking from people who read into scripture things that are not there. The case I have made above is foundational from the word of God giving a clear picture of when the rapture will take place in the timeline of events in scripture.

Allow those scriptures to be your guide for understanding all other scriptures you may have thought to favor a pre-tribulation rapture, so you may see them for what they really are. For it is natural for us as humans to desire the thought of safety. But you have to remember that the New Testament is full of radical acts that lead believers to lose their lives. Many Christians to this day are losing their lives for just professing to be Christian.

What does the Bible say will occur between the time of the Antichrists reign and the return of Christ?
"And the dragon (Satan) was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17).

"And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months (the great tribulation). Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:5-8).

"Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:12-13).

"When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed" (Revelation 6:9-11).

"Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”

And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:13-14).

"Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time (42 months of great tribulation, the same time-frame spoken of in Rev. 13:5-8); and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished" (Daniel 12:7).
From these verses, you can see that the saints are put to death by the wrath of Satan and cry for God to avenge them; in which He will at an appointed time when he calls down His wrath upon those who worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark (see Revelation chapter 16).

Do not be deceived by false teachers and ultimately your own heart:
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4).
The theology of the pre-tribulation rapture didn't appear until the 18th century and wasn't popular until about 1830. It is the work of the devil, a doctrine of demons still being taught to this day; especially by popular speakers who have a big audience through the avenues of media. Beware of preachers who have a big audience through television, radio and so on. I of course cannot say they all are wolves in sheep's clothing, but be aware! Only the Holy Spirit can teach you all things. Always go to the Holy Spirit, for He cannot lead you astray.

Of what benefit would Satan gain by creating and teaching a pre-tribulation rapture? What is the worst that can happen? It weakens the faith of a believer to the point of falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3) because they did not prepare themselves for the moment of testing; leading the person to worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark.

For there may come a time when they say to themselves, surely God would have raptured us out of this world before all these disasters have come upon us. And when the Antichrist takes the stage, there may be a scenario where he brings a solution to save the world from these sufferings, causing those who use to confess Christ to put their hope and trust in him.

Grow your faith and relationship with Jesus as strong as possible, and be willing to go through anything up until his return!
"And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up (see Matthew 24:15, time of great tribulation), there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days" (Daniel 12:9-12).

"Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man (at the Day of the Lord after the tribulation of those days)" (Luke 21:36).

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