PRE-TRIBULATION

Summary: It could be argued that--in the United States at least, the Pre-Tribulation view is the most popular. The Left Behind series capitalized on this. The idea is that before God brings seven years of punishment on the world, true and holy believers will be taken to heaven to be spared the horrors to come.
     
TRUMPETS
There is a question about timing: What is the last trumpet and when does it sound - exactly? Trumpets are sounded all through the bible, so what makes the seventh and last trumpet in Revelation special? Is the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15-18 the same trumpet Paul speaks of in 1 Cor 15:52? In Revelation, the seven trumpets are sounded to bring wrath on an unbelieving world, not the Church. A special trumpet, not tied to or mentioned in Revelation, is blown to call believers in the rapture. Trumpet of Joel 2:1 "Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand." And so Joel opens this chapter with what sounds like the Second Coming of Christ. So what? Is it a last trumpet or the same as Revelation 11?
 
RAPTURE AND SECOND COMING    
The rapture and Second Coming are not tied together in any way: they are separate events. The rapture takes place in the air, while Jesus lands on the Mount of Olives, which splits in two. In the rapture, people get new bodies, while at Second Coming, glorified believers come from heaven and those on earth keep their bodies. The rapture takes place before the world is judged, while at the Second Coming, Jesus judges the world, establishing righteousness. In the rapture, the Church is delivered from wrath, while at the Second Coming, Jesus saves the world from wrath. Rapture comes without signs, while Second Coming has many. The rapture is only in New Testament, while the Second Coming is mentioned in Old and New Testaments. Only the truest and holy believers are raptured, while in the Second Coming, all people are saved from the end time horrors. In the rapture, the antichrist remains in power, while at the Second Coming, Jesus defeats him with a Word, then he is bound and thrown into the Abyss.
     
NOT SUFFER WRATH    
Believers will not suffer in the Tribulation, because the coming torment is worse than anything in history: 1 Thess 5:9 says, "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." It is important to understand that true and most holy believers do not need to experience God's wrath poured out on the earth; a pouring out that is more horrible than anything the world has ever experienced. Who would want to be here for that, if the rapture comes first? Do right thinking people want to experience God's wrath? Here is a promise for true believers: "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev 3:10). Just like during Noah's flood on the earth, God spares his holy people from wrath.
     
THE DAY OF THE LORD    
First, the Day of the Lord may not be what we call a typical 24-hour period of time. Paul describes the Day of the Lord coming like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2). But does this automatically mean the Day of the Lord is linked to Armageddon and the end of the Great Tribulation? No. In fact, some scholars believe the Day of the Lord may encompass the whole Great Tribulation period. For example: Peter describes a Day of the Lord that seems to include the Lord coming like a thief, the heavens disappearing, fire destroying everything, and the earth laid bare (2 Peter 3:10-13). A lot going on for just one day.
     
NOT KNOW THE HOUR    
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come" (Mat 24:42). This means that we must always be ready--constantly, because we will not know when Jesus will return. Some people say that the rapture is just before the Second Coming, but we will know the date, because Daniel tells us (Dan 12:11-13) that from the desecration of the temple, 1,290 days will follow as the Abomination that Causes Desolation rules the earth. A day on the calendar.
     
ORIENTATION CHANGE    
In the first three chapters of Revelation, Jesus is speaking to the churches. Then he is done with them. He warns them, tells them how to get ready, and then he moves on to more important issues, and he does not mention the Church again until Revelation 19, where they are present during celebration. Why? Because the Church is gone--in the rapture, at the end of Revelation 3.
     
HOLY SPIRIT REMOVED    
2 Thessalonians 2:7, "For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way." When the Holy Spirit--the restrainer--is removed from the earth, no person will get saved or can be saved from that point on (see John 16:8-11; 1 John 5:7) . Since the Holy Spirit is removed at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the antichrist can wreck the earth, then that is when the rapture takes place. But it also may mean that the Church is the restrainer, who when removed, allows the antichrist to rise to power.
     
ISRAEL'S REDEMPTION
Another reason the Church is not here: The Great Tribulation is for the redemption of Israel, not the Church. Zechariah 13:8 says two-thirds will be struck down and one-third God "will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call my Name and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is our God'" (vs 9). The antichrist and the world are against the woman in Revelation 12, who is Israel, fleeing persecution during the Great Tribulation.
     
CHURCH DURING GREAT TRIBULATION    
During the Great Tribulation, the Church experiences three things. Firstly, the Church receives the judgment of God. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad" (2 Cor 5:10; Matt 25:26-30). This is not an eternal judgment (Rev 20:11), but a separate judgment based on the works of believers in the Church. Secondly, a marriage ceremony follows, as described in Revelation 19:6-9, "...For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready." Thirdly, after the marriage ceremony, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb follows: "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" (Rev 19:9).

 

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