One of the most powerful ways to get believers off track with God is to create a man-made doctrine, and then inject believers’ minds with it. I strongly believe if you need to read multiple books to understand a single concept or word, something must be wrong; especially about something so widely discussed in the Bible as the Rapture. Unfortunately the term ‘rapture’ is not in the Bible. Yes, the phrase ‘caught up’ is in the Bible, which in Latin is “rapturo”. Hence the word rapture. I do not have a problem with us being raptured, or caught up to Christ. The problem is that the word RAPTURE has become larger than the Bible, to where you need to read books about what others think in order to understand it, instead of simply reading what the Bible clearly states about believers being gathered to Jesus, when he returns.
My goal of this article is to reveal how the pre-tribulation rapture is false, and that the second coming of Christ is what every believer should be looking forward to. I will only be using the Bible and common sense.
Just to be clear, I am not biased. I was raised to believe the pre-trib rapture. I have read 4 times the amount of books on the pre-tribulation rapture. It is actually quite hard to find a book about the second coming of Christ, which is ironic since it is the most prophesied event in the Bible. It wasn’t until I read the Bible for myself that I started to believe otherwise. What we need to be looking for is the return of Jesus Christ (after the tribulation), not waiting around hoping to be ‘rescued’ before the tribulation comes.
Let’s get right to the point. What does Jesus say about end times?
Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 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. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
29 “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. 30 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. 31 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.
Let no one deceive you, Christians will be given up to tribulation, killed, and be hated by all nations. We will have to endure wars and famines. Only those who endure to the end will be saved. Christians will see the Antichrist sitting in the temple proclaiming to be God. Then the worst time in the worlds history will come to pass. God will darken the sun and moon and cause the stars to fall from the sky (aka a big signal to get right with God, ASAP). Then Jesus will return in Glory and he will be seen by everyone. Then he will send the angels with a loud trumpet blast, to gather the elect.
No where does Jesus say, “Don’t worry, you will be raptured before things get bad.”
Many pre-trib believers say, “Jesus was only talking to the Jews during this passage.” My response to this is “Where does the Bible say this?”. Also, read the parallel passage in Mark:
Mark 13:37 “And what I say unto you I say unto all, watch.”
Jesus was clearly talking to everyone, both Jews and Gentiles.
But just in case Jesus was mistaken, let’s read what Paul says:
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
Again, the following narrative takes place between Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2:
Below are the parallels between Matthew 24 and Revelation 6. The pre-trib position believes that Christians will be raptured before the first 6 seals are opened in Revelation 6. Each seal represents a specific thing that will come during the end times. The first four are often called the four horsemen of the apocalypse. As you have already read in Matthew 24, Christians will suffer various tribulations before the return of Christ. Below you will see that the same tribulations occur in Revelation 6.
|Wars and rumors of wars (vs 6-7)||Peace is taken from the earth (vs 4) A fourth of the earth is in war. (vs 8)|
|Famines (vs 7)||Famines (vs 8)|
|Some believers will be put to death (vs 9)||The saints are martyred (vs 9-11)|
|Sun will be darkened, moon will not give its light, stars fall from the sky, heavenly bodies will be shaken (vs 29)||A great earthquake. Sun turned black, moon turned blood red, stars fell to earth, heavens receded like a scroll. (vs 12-14)|
|People of the earth will mourn at the site of Jesus. (vs 30)||People of earth are terrified of the wrath of the Lamb (vs 15-17)|
|Analogy of a fig tree showing the time and season. (vs 32)||Figs drop from a fig tree (vs 12)|
|Angels gather the elect (vs 31)||A great multitude appears before the throne of the lamb, those who came out of the great tribulation (Revelation 7:9-14)|
Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Because of this verse many believers think the rapture can happen at any time. This does not mean that it can happen at any time (people will know when the time has come, as it will be obvious), but rather that no one knows the exact time it will happen. Jesus says no one knows the day or hour, but Jesus did not say no one would know the week, year, century, etc.
Matthew 24:29-30 says: “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. 30 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.”
As you can see in Matthew 24:29, after the tribulation of those days, there will be 3 distinct signs in the heavens. He is specifically telling us a sign of when to expect his return. But of that day (the second coming) no one knows the day nor hour. This verse should not be interpreted, “No one knows when the rapture will happen, therefore it can happen at any minute”.
Many Christians believe that since Jesus is coming like a “thief in the night”, his coming will be a secret event, and that we will have no idea when his return is. I believe that the Bible is clear. For the non-believer, Jesus will come like a thief in the night (because they are blinded to the signs), but for those who believe (and know to look for the signs), we will know in advance. We may not know the day nor hour, but we will know the season.
Verses talking about Jesus returning like a thief in the night:
Revelation 16:15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
Revelation 3:3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
This verse says, “If you do not wake up”, implying that those who are not ready, Jesus will come like a thief, and you will not know the day our hour. If you reverse this, it sounds like we may know a lot more about the second coming of Christ than we think.
Matthew 24:42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
If the owner of the house knew when the thief was coming, he would have kept watch… and Jesus says “watch” and “so you must also be ready”.
1 Thessalonians 5: Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
The verses above state that for non-believers (those of the night) Jesus will come back as a thief (He will take them by surprise). But since believers do not live in darkness (they can clearly see the signs of Christ’s coming), they will see him coming and welcome it. Paul is clearly contrasting that non-believers are unaware and believers are aware.
The pre-trib doctrine believes that when Jesus raptures his church, the term “thief in the night” implies a secret rapture, where no one will know about it. All those who are left will be surprised to see a whole bunch of people missing, planes will fall out of the sky, just like in the Left Behind series. The following passage clearly shows that the day when Jesus returns like a thief, is not a secret rapture but near the 6th seal of Revelation chapter 6. Take note that the following verse says “heavens will disappear with a roar” and “the heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up” in Rev 6:14. They line up pretty well.
Revelation 6:14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
If you look at all the scripture above, you will see that the Day of the Lord (second coming of Jesus) is the only biblical reference to Jesus coming like a thief in the night. This day will be extremely “broadcasted”. It will not be carried out discretely. The heavens will disappear, the elements will be destroyed, and the heavens rolled up. This does not sound anything like the pre-trib belief system.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jesus warns believers time and time again, that he comes like a thief in the night. Jesus describes a thief as coming to steal, kill and destroy, and that is exactly what happens to those who do not know Christ (through righteous judgement).
I agree with this statement. True Christians are not appointed to wrath. The difference between the pre-tribulation belief and any other is what defines “wrath”.
The pre-tribulation theory believes that the first 5 seals (Revelation 6) are God’s wrath, therefore we must be taken out of the way in advance. In no translation is the word “wrath” used to describe the four horseman of the apocalypses of the first 5 seals. If you actually think about it, each of the seals has been going on for quite some time now. Does this mean we are experiencing God’s wrath? I don’t think so.
The seals are as follows:
1. The white horse: a conqueror bent on conquest. Many believe this to be the Antichrist. Satan has always been bent on conquest, and the spirit of the antichrist has been at work since Jesus’ day (1 John 4:3).
2. The Red Horse: peace is taken from the earth. There hasn’t been a day of peace on the earth for the last 100 years.
3. The Black Horse: economic distress. This is happening now, and is only going to get worse.
4. The Pale Horse: a fourth of the earth will suffer death by the sword, famine and plagues and wild beasts. This makes many pre trib people say, “If a fourth of the earth’s population is killed, that must be God’s wrath”. No, re-read this. It says the fourth rider was given authority over a 1/4 of the earth, not that a 1/4 of the earth would be destroyed. This is already happening. Simply look around in the middle east and large portions of Africa.
5. The fifth seal: the saints are martyred. If this is God’s wrath, aka killing his own people, then either God is twisted, or the fifth seal is not God’s wrath. This has occurred since Stephen, the first martyr for Jesus.
The first 5 seals have happened throughout all of history, and continue to happen to this day (the spirit of the antichrist at work in the world, war, economic distress, famines, plagues, people killing each other, Christians being martyred). These don’t mean that God’s wrath is on us, but rather Satan and the curses that come with sin are at work.
Also, why do the saints cry out for God’s judgement to come on the earth, if the first 5 seals are God’s wrath or judgement?
Revelation 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
In the above passage, the dead saints wanted God to judge the world, yet they were told to wait a little longer. If the first 5 seals were god’s wrath, then wouldn’t God already be carrying out His judgement?
Consequently, the word wrath is only used to during the sixth seal, when all the nations mourn.
Revelation 6:16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
Ps. If you still believe the tribulation is considered God’s wrath, then find one verse that says both “wrath” and “tribulation” in it.
2 Thessalonians 2: Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 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. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Pre-tribulation theologies argues that the one holding back the Antichrist is the Holy Spirit (vs 7-8). And they use verse 3 to say that the great falling away is the rapture. Verse 3 above uses the word “rebellion”. Other translations use ‘great rebellion’, ‘apostasy’, ‘revolt’, and ‘falling away’. The actual word used in the original writing is Apostasia. It means defection, apostasy, revolt, to fall away from a previous establishment (political or religious belief). The only other use of this word is in Acts 21:21 “that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses”. In this verse the Jews are forsaking, or going away from the teachings of Moses.
First of all, there is no verse saying that the Holy Spirit is holding back the Antichrist. Secondly, if that were the case, it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit needs to be removed from the earth. Pre-tribs believe that their are “tribulation saints” that get saved after the rapture. If that were the case, how can they get saved if the Holy Spirit is removed?
I believe the falling away is actually people leaving the faith, do to the great deception. Keep in mind, only those who once loved God can rebell, fall away from the faith, revolt against god, etc. Those who never knew God, are by default against God. In Matt 24, we see that there is a “falling away” from the faith as well:
Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10″At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11″Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.
As you can see, the great falling away, is a rebellion by once believing Christians.
The Bible aside, let us simply use logic for one second. The pre-tribulation stance uses the term “falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2 to mean that both the Holy Spirit and Christians are removed from the earth, before the Antichrist sits in the temple. Read both ‘versions’ of 2 Thessalonians 2 below. The first column shows the actual verse. The second column shows how pre-tribulation preachers read it.
|2 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 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. 3 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, 4 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 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and THE RAPTURE, we ask you, 2 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. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for THE RAPTURE will not come unless the THE RAPTURE comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 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.|
If you read the verses how the pre-tribulation believers’ read it (on the right), you can see that Paul would basically be saying this:
“In regards to the rapture, don’t let anyone deceive you. The rapture won’t happen until the rapture happens first.”
Obviously, this would be nonsense. The falling away/rebellion/apostasy isn’t the same thing as the rapture. He is making a contrast that something must occur first before the rapture happens (the falling away of believers and the Antichrist exalting himself to equality with God, while sitting in the temple).
Note that in verse 3 it says, “That day (second coming/rapture) will not come unless the falling away comes first, AND the man of sin is revealed.
In the end times, the love of many will grow cold, there will be a great rebellion against God and many will lose their faith. If believers aren’t prepared for tribulation, and are expecting to be ‘rescued’, then they will be more likely to turn away from their faith during persecution in the end times.
Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
By believing and preaching the pre-tribulation rapture, instead of the second coming of Christ, many believers will lose their faith.
Jesus’ words are clear. We need to be ready for his return and his kingdom. If we are not, there are not second chances, but rather eternal consequences. Unfortunately, the pre-trib rapture preaches many will have a second chance to turn to God. The Bible does not preach this.
7 Year Tribulation: The Bible is clear that their will tribulation, and a time of great tribulation (after the Antichrist is revealed in Matthew 24:21 KJV). The Bible also says there is a 7 year period, referred to as Daniel’s 70th week. But no where does the Bible say “seven year tribulation”. People like to place all end times prophecy into a 7 year period. By using the term “seven year tribulation” it is easy to be mislead about the timing of end times events. Keep in mind that when people use that term, that it is a man made term which allows man to manipulate it and inject it with their own beliefs.
Tribulation Saints: People often use the term “tribulation saints” to talk about how people will be saved after the Rapture. I am not here to argue whether or not people can or will get saved, but rather that the term does not exist in the Bible.
John 17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
Revelation 1:9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus
Acts 14:22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
Revelation 13:9-10: “If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
tribulation = persection matthew 13:21 16:1
Matthew 24:12 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Luke 21:19 Stand firm, and you will win life.
Luke 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Jeremiah 30:11 “Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”
Jeremiah 30:7 says, “That day is great, so that none is like it.”
Revelation 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
Jesus talks about 2 churches that escape. He also says to watch and pray
Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
Luke 21:36 “But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
verses about earlier christians going through tribulations
the bible needs to define its own words
in this world you will go through tribulation -jesus
Can you read the bible without hearing the pre trib rapture, and come to the same conclusion?
http://www.alankurschner.com/2012/02/22/what-does-the-apostasy-refer-to-in-2-thessalonians-23/ http://thewatchman.org/en/trumpets/ feast of trumpets
Here is a list of Bible verses talking about tribulation, trials, persecution, etc. Most of them all pertain to Christians enduring tribulation, trials and persecution.