A Biblical Case for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture

A Brief History of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Some people teach that the pre-tribulation rapture is a relatively modern phenomenon that first occurred around 1830 and was an invention of a man named John Nelson Darby. While he may have made the idea popular again, it is no wise a new idea. In fact Justin Martyr (110-165 AD) went so far as to suggest that anyone with a different viewpoint (from the pre-tribulation rapture) was heretical. [1]

“Peter Jurieu in his book, Approaching Deliverance of the Church (1687) taught that Christ would come in the air to rapture the saints and return to Heaven before the battle of Armageddon… Philip Doddridge’s commentary on the New Testament (1738) and John Gill’s commentary on the New Testament (1748) both use the term rapture and speak of it as imminent. It is clear these men believed that this coming will precede Christ’s descent to the earth and the time of judgment. The purpose was to preserve believers from the time of judgment. James Macknight (1763) and Thomas Scott (1792) taught that the righteous will be carried to heaven, where they will be secure until the time of judgment is over.” [2]

Paul N. Benware, in his book, Understanding End Times Prophecy, notes that many writers in the 17th and 18th Centuries began to speak of a Rapture separate and apart from the Second Coming: [3]

“Peter Jurieu in his book, Approaching Deliverance of the Church (1687) taught that Christ would come in the air to rapture the saints and return to Heaven before the battle of Armageddon… Philip Doddridge’s commentary on the New Testament (1738) and John Gill’s commentary on the New Testament (1748) both use the term rapture and speak of it as imminent. It is clear these men believed that this coming will precede Christ’s descent to the earth and the time of judgment. The purpose was to preserve believers from the time of judgment. James Macknight (1763) and Thomas Scott (1792) taught that the righteous will be carried to heaven, where they will be secure until the time of judgment is over.”

One of the early Church Fathers, The Shepherd of Hermas, writing in the early 2nd Century, makes an interesting observation about “the great tribulation that is coming.” He says, “If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of the days of your life in serving the Lord blamelessly.” [4]

I could go on ad nauseam with more examples but you get the point. This is not a new idea. But what does the Bible have to say about this? Does the Bible speak of a separate rapture from the second coming?

Biblical Proofs of Rapture & the Second Coming as Separate Events.

There are many biblical proofs that there will be a second coming that is separate from the rapture. I give eight of them here for your consideration.

  1. In the rapture Christ comes for His own (John 14:3; 1Th. 5:28; 2Th. 2:1). In the second coming Christ comes with His own (1Th. 3:13; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:14)
  2. In the rapture Christ comes in the air (1Th. 4:17). In the second coming Christ comes to the earth ( Zec. 14:4; Acts 1:11)
  3. In the rapture Christ claims His bride (1Th. 4:16-17). During the second coming, Christ comes with His bride (Rev. 19:6-14).
  4. In the rapture there is removal of believers (1Th. 4:17).During the second coming there is the manifestation of Christ (Mal. 4:2).
  5. During the rapture only His own see Him (1Th. 4:13-18). During the second coming every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7).
  6. No signs precede rapture (1Th. 5:1-3). Signs precede Second Coming (Luke 21:11, Luke 21:15)
  7. In the rapture the focus is Lord and Church (1Th. 4:13-18). In the second coming the focus is Israel and kingdom (Mat. 24:14).
  8. The rapture is imminent (could happen at any moment). The second coming cannot occur for at least 7 years until the tribulation period ends.

When is the Rapture coming?

There are three main schools of thoughts here: pre-trib, mid-trib, and post-trib. simply stated the three thoughts go like this:

  • The pre-tribulation rapture says that the church will be taken out before the beginning of the tribulation.
  • The mid-tribulation rapture says that the church will be taken out after three and a half years, half way through the tribulation. The church will not suffer the brunt or worse part of the tribulation.
  • Then the post-tribulation rapture says that the church will have to be purified before going to heaven so they must go through the entire tribulation.

I personally subscribe to the pre-trib theory. I give two reasons why:

  1. The church is the bride of Christ. He died on the cross to make her an acceptable bride for him (see Ephesians chapter 5 for a discussion on this). So gentlemen, ask yourselves a question: what did your bride have to do to make herself acceptable for you? What trials did she have to endure to prove her worth? Hopefully none, as you loved your bride to be.
  2. While we can tell the seasons, no man knows the day and the hour the Lord will come for His own. If we subscribe to the mid or post trib views, the peace treaty is being signed and the work on building the new temple has begun and we know when Jesus is coming.

I welcome your comments Below.

Endnotes

 

  1. “Early Church Fathers” http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_rapture6.php accessed 20 August 2014
  2. Regan, Dr. David, “The Origin of the Concept of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture from Man or the Bible?” Lamb & Lion Ministries, http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_rapture6.php accessed 20 August 2014
  3. Paul N. Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), pages 197-198. http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_rapture6.php accessed 20 August 2014
  4. The Shepherd of Hermas, 2[23]:5 http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_rapture6.php accessed 20 August 2014
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