THE RAPTURE PRINCIPLE: Is It Before, During, or After?
The Truth About The Rapture.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3: 5,6.
This information is an excerpt from my END OF DAYS article, which is of critical importance and that the truth regarding the “catching away” or rapture, as it is commonly known, is properly understood. And to dispel a common misconception - belief either way does not affect salvation in any way as it is NOT a salvation issue but it will make it harder to survive Tribulation, you won't be prepared when it arrives believing a lie thinking you won't be here.
There are so many completely unaware and are in ignorance of the scriptures that tell us about it. For some, it will be a surprise, for others a shock – even worse, some don’t even care. Tribulation is coming sooner than most think – it won’t happen in my time. It’s that human failing, or condition that affects every one of us, ‘it won’t happen to me.’ It’s always someone else and it isn’t a shock until it happens to you. For many who know and understand scripture, we are now on the very edge of the Tribulation precipice, which will be the most fearful time ever. Those who can discern scripture with the Spirit's help will understand there are clues to knowing just when it will begin, and believe me it is closer than you think. This article is not about when Jesus returns, no-one but God knows that day - it's about the catching away, whether it's before, during or after Tribulation and I'm not asking you to believe me, read the scriptures for yourself.
‘There are none so blind they refuse to see, none so deaf they refuse to listen – they can determine the weather by observation, yet they cannot discern from the signs around us that this world is fast coming to its end.’
For those who don’t know, a little understanding first of the last age we are living in, which is 'Laodicea - the age of lukewarmness' and it really is a sad indictment of the condition that most will find themselves in, even many professing to be Christians are just lukewarm these days. This is the era of a marked degeneration of society, which has led to spiritual paralysis and loose standards in our own day.
Jesus tells John in the spirit about the seven church eras, of which we are in the last era, Revelation 3: 14 - 22 saying we are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. And we have become this way largely because of our material pursuits, placing worldly things in front of love for Jesus. If our love is considered lukewarm, what will it become if it cools even further? It will only add to the insult that it is and serve to increase the risk of our own possible apostasy in the persecution in Tribulation.
The entire period is known as the 7000 years / 7 days prophecy of human existence and we should know that we are now in the END of the 6th day of that timeline, which runs like this. Adam to Abraham 2000 years, Abraham to Jesus 2000 years, Jesus to now 2000 years, (which is also known as the church age, which wasn't revealed to Daniel) with the millennium of 1000 years to come. This is not about the age of the earth - we know the earth is millions, perhaps billions of years old, this is about the age of human existence.
Just as an analogy, I've always thought of scripture as a spiritual jigsaw puzzle - you can't see the final picture until you've found the last piece from the pile of pieces that connects the puzzle together, and so it is with scripture - ALL the pieces are there, you have to FIND them and then correctly join them together to see the final picture.
We know from scripture that Tribulation will last for 7 years, Daniel 9: 27, which will be divided in two 3.5 year periods, the first period is simply known as the Tribulation, the second period is known as the Great Tribulation. The first period will be bad enough from what we read in Revelation but the second period of 3.5 years will be the very worst time for believers with many losing their faith and their lives. And not necessarily in that order.
Let’s begin with the scriptures that lead us into it and remember, these verses are NOT saying the 'catching away' is at the beginning, nor the middle but meaning at the end of Tribulation, which is supported by other scriptures and confirmed by Jesus. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24: 29 - 31 that He will return after the Tribulation of those days...
Everyone with just a passing interest in Tribulation has read these verses but yet, so many refuse to believe it happens after - either through fear or false doctrine, which will always try to circumvent scripture, even though it is put before them in the scriptures and spoken of by Jesus, as it will be seen below.
Thessalonians 4: 16 – 18 says: For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Comfort one another with these words.
Doesn't it makes sense to you that in His mercy, Jesus will withhold His coming until the very last minute so that no-one is without opportunity.
1st Corinthians 15: 52 also says: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: [after the Tribulation] for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
The last trump is referring to the time Jesus returns – at the END of Tribulation and is not part of the 7 trumpet judgements that precede it. The 7 trumpet judgements are sounded by angels but the trump of God is just that. The fact that this is the last trump, doesn't that suggest to you that it is at the end of Tribulation? These verses fit with Matthew 24: 21, 22, 29 – 31.
There are 21 judgements in the Tribulation, 7 seals, which are an overview, 7 trumpets, which are overlapping, beginning in the first half and concluding in the second half and then 7 bowl judgements – all of which are of increasing intensity and you can read about them in Revelation 6, 8 & 9. Overall they will affect both believers and unbelievers but the effects are very different for both camps. ALL believers will receive God's seal in their foreheads and His protection from certain events that will affect unbelievers but it doesn't mean protection from martyrdom - if God has marked you for martyrdom there is nothing that will change that but you can rest assured, it does guarantee salvation because you are willing to give your life for Him. And because Jesus gave His life for each and everyone of us - He didn't as much as even raise His hand to stop it, so shouldn't we be prepared to do the same for Him if we're called upon to suffer it? No-one can yet know exactly how all things will play out when it arrives but it's best to know and understand this and settle it in your heart well beforehand.
It is natural to fear being killed by violent means - not so much as dying in natural ways but we should remember what Jesus said in Luke 12: 4 - And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that they have no more that they can do. And in Matthew 10: 28 Jesus adds a little more to the same verse: But rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
And if God has marked us for martyrdom, count it as joy as we will be seeing Jesus on the other side and Luke 9: 24 tells us, For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Just think again about what I've just said - God gave up His one and only Son in exchange for our sinful lives so that we may have life, and He didn't have to do that simply because we are not worthy but there was no other way - a life had to be given so that our sins could be forgiven. In O.T. times, forgiveness was sought through the blood sacrifice of animals - rescinded now by the blood of Christ, is it of little wonder then, that it says in Hebrews 12: 4, Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin? God marked His own dear Son for martyrdom as a ransom for us - why should we even think it too much to give our own lives for Him when He, being without sin, did so for us? Our faith has not yet been put to the severest of tests. And the last part of that verse above, shouldn't we think of sin the same way He does? I cannot help but love Him because He first loved me. 1st John 4: 19.
It was expedient that one should die for many - in the end, many will die for one.
We are all allowed a free will to believe or not, by our own choice – God could have made it so that no free will was given, no-one needed saving and no sacrifice either. Jesus shed His precious blood for yours and my salvation and by His gift we receive forgiveness of our sins through confession and repentance. Belief comes first in your mind then your heart followed with a simple prayer from your heart, acknowledging that you are a sinner, saying you accept Jesus as your saviour and asking for His help in your weakness. Then confession and repentance coming after, which is an ongoing daily thing and simply because of our human nature, we all fall. Salvation is given only by grace (His gift) through belief - Romans 10: 9, 10. We are washed clean and saved with His blood.
The first 6 trumpets are in the first half, the 7th trumpet is in the beginning of the second half, which are followed by the 7 bowl judgements. In the verses above, the dead in Christ shall rise first – this is the first resurrection, mentioned in Revelation 20: 4 – 6 and as such there cannot be a ‘rapture’ before the falling away, (i.e. believers who have become apostates,) which begins seriously in the first half, and increasing exponentially to culminate in the second half, therefore ALL believers who are alive at the end, having survived Tribulation will be caught up (raised) along with the dead to meet Him in the air at the same time. So all believers must go through the Tribulation – to the very END, unless dying beforehand. In these verses, which are commonly known as the rapture, there are four schools of thought, of which only one is right: 1. There will be a pre-tribulation rapture. 2. There will be a mid-tribulation rapture. 3. There will be a post-tribulation rapture. 4. There won’t be a rapture at all (non believers.)
Preachers of many religions teach a pre or mid-trib rapture, if they teach it at all, some even say it’s only the Jews who will go through Tribulation – well if it’s only the Jews, what about us? Does that give us a ‘get out of jail free' card – I don’t think so. Their teaching or reasoning isn’t scriptural; it is man’s own thinking that God won’t allow His elect to go through the horror of what is to come, surely not. And neither did all those who were horribly burnt to death at the stake in the Dark Ages either – they died in faith. This scripture has taught us some will survive Tribulation to be caught up, and some won’t – many will argue point 3 quoting certain scriptures as reasoning and some will openly hate God after they discover their belief in a pre or mid-trib rapture doesn’t eventuate. Those who hold to points 1 and 2 are sadly mistaken, taking other passages totally out of context and believing it simply because they are blinded and won’t accept the truth. This time of testing will sort out the true believers. Human nature is what it is.
This is the very question the disciples asked Jesus. Don’t you think that if it were before Tribulation Jesus would have said so? But He clearly said after and only God has the right to change that. You cannot read Matthew 24 without concluding that the 'catching away' is immediately after the Tribulation of those days. For those who believe in a rapture that comes before Tribulation, they should look again at the scriptures that contain the word Tribulation. The O.T. uses it 3 times, the N.T., 19 times. If the rapture comes before Tribulation, shouldn’t one of those 22 passages teach us something about the rapture happening before Tribulation? But in all those 22 instances, there isn’t one verse that says the rapture happens before Tribulation. There are however, 3 clear verses that say it happens after Tribulation – Matthew 24: 29 - 31. There may be some passages which seem to agree with a pre or mid-trib view, but they don’t prove this scripture as certain or irrefutably as the post-trib view does. These are really false prophets propagating a false doctrine, which will give a false hope to so many. It would be so easy to believe that Jesus will come and take us away before the horror begins; (if it were true) which only leads to a false, dangerous complacency, but Jesus in scripture tells a different story. Those who fall victim to this ideology and succumb to a false hope and security, will only result in a serious lack of a preparedness of mind that somehow, it isn’t really dangerous because the Tribulation won’t ever have to be endured. Matthew 6: 25 – 34 tells us how God will provide for us in Tribulation and our faith will be severely tested in this. Don’t concentrate on the visible things of this world but look to the invisible things above. This is hard to comprehend and one must believe without question that God will do what He says in these verses for there is absolutely no other way we will survive Tribulation without His help. All true Christians will become refugees and need to understand the implications of Luke 18: 8.
Let’s just imagine for a minute that the rapture does happen before Tribulation (which it won’t) what have we lost? Nothing, and I will have to say ‘thank God’ and breathe a sigh of relief but when the darkness sets in, the realisation for some will turn to despair. Or to put it another way, those who put their hope in the pre-trib view (and that’s what it is) have no fear of Tribulation – we won’t be here. But if they would just examine scripture again and when the truth finally dawns on them, they will then understand in stark contrast but unfortunately, won’t be prepared for what is coming. And those not spiritually prepared could easily end up worshipping the anti-Christ because of the pressures of not being able to buy or sell anything. Any preacher teaching this lie will have their ministry centred on this view, which is why you should examine them, even ask the question. If they say it’s pre or mid-trib, leave and look for one that says it’s post-tribulation. Better still, consider the strait gate verses.
Very briefly, just a little on not being able to buy and sell in the second half of the Tribulation - Do not be too overly concerned about this as we know from Matthew 6: 25 - 34 that God will provide for His own in a way known only to Him - if that were not so, no believer will survive Tribulation. Matthew 24: 22 tells us, And except those days should be shortened, there should be no flesh saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. In the Exodus, God provided for the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness, their clothes and sandals didn't even wear out - so 3 years will be nothing to God. We are not given any other information other than what is contained in these verses, which is most likely deliberate but one thing is certain, we know that He can and will do it. And without being fortified with sufficient spiritual faith we may not hear what the Spirit will be trying to tell us, SO DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR FAITH IN ANY WAY. Some will make it right to the end to be raised alive, and some will be martyred during, and some will mercifully be taken home before or even during the Tribulation. God already has a plan for us and we must be listening for the Spirit's direction to know what it is. Daniel tells us a lot about these days and it is well worth the time to study this book. It is not yet for us to know the details because of what is to come - in Daniel 12 the Spirit is telling him of these things and he answers the Spirit saying: And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. I think it is clear that whatever His reasons are, they are for our benefit.
For those in the US, which is Mystery Babylon, Revelation 18: 4 says in part, come out of her my people and this warning will be given by the Spirit just as a small window of opportunity presents itself. There are some who misinterpret the word 'her' in this verse thinking it means the church visible - that is not so, the strait gate verses are clear enough on that. Revelation 17 and 18 clearly tells us it is a country and it is the USA.
Here is the proof of a post-tribulation rapture, and many will try to convince you otherwise, looking first at 1st Thessalonians 5: 1 & 2 to lead you into it. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write to you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. (The catching away or ‘rapture’ [a non biblical term] is also referred to as the day of the Lord.) Further in 2nd Thessalonians 1: 7 – 10, And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day (because our testimony among you was believed). Now look at some verses in the O.T. that determine when the day of the Lord shall occur and compare them with what Jesus said in Matthew 24: 29 – 31.
Isaiah 13: 9 & 10: See the day of the Lord has come, for the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. These signs shall be unmistakable to all believers – but unbelievers won’t know what to think. Joel 2: 31, The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. Some think there is a ‘secret’ rapture before or during Tribulation instead of after, and are sadly incorrect – this isn’t a double event, Jesus is only coming again once, after Tribulation. Zechariah 14: 6 & 7, And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. This verse could explain how every eye shall see Him when He returns. Acts 1: 9 – 11 tells us How Jesus ascended into heaven; He was taken up by a cloud. It goes on to say and also in Revelation 1: 7 how He will appear when He returns; on a cloud and every eye shall see Him. The most crucial thing is that we are not deceived as Jesus told us in Matthew 24: 4, 5 & 11, and perhaps also from false apparitions from Satan. In John’s gospel 6: 39, 40 & 44 & 54, Jesus mentions the words ‘last day’ four times. Notice it is singular tense and not plural as in last days. Anything said in singular tense is specific; plural is just a reference in general and meaning more than one or once. The last day is suggesting something that is after or at the end of an event and last days doesn’t, it suggests either before or during. Jesus mentions the last day four times so we wouldn’t miss it. Look again at the verses: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds. When will this happen – Jesus has already told us in Matthew 24: 31.
Revelation 13: 15 says: As many who would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. The mark of the beast (666) won’t be in place until after the second half of Tribulation begins and true believers won’t take the mark, so they will go through it and many will be killed. But if there weren’t any believers here at all, (i.e. all raptured out) the mark wouldn’t even be necessary, so who are they who won’t worship the beast? There can be no persecution of believers, Matthew 24: 9, unless believers are present, and there can be no falling away of believers, Matthew 24: 12, unless believers are present in both the first and second half!! Also look again at Matthew 24: 22, would God even bother to shorten these days if His elect didn’t go through it??? I used to believe the pre-trib lie for two reasons, as so many do – it sounded right and surely God wouldn’t put us through that. There will be many who believe in the pre or mid-trib view and may still be saved as it is NOT a salvation issue but won’t be spiritually prepared for what is coming. And because of that, they may also be among those who will take the mark simply by the intense pressures of Tribulation just to survive and will realise their mistake when they see Him at His return and plead to be accepted but to no avail. Anyone taking the mark has forfeited their opportunity, even in ignorance – it will be too late, taking the mark is the point of no return. And there is simply NO FORGIVENESS for taking the mark; you will have sold your soul to the Devil. There are no excuses here as everyone will receive the warning, Revelation 14: 9, 10 tells us that an angel flying in the midst of heaven will give this warning, which shows it is audible and all will hear it. You can either spend eternity with Jesus - or you will spend ETERNITY in the lake of fire. In that light, it should be an easy decision, which shouldn't be out of necessity, but out of love.
There are two things that will adversely affect your salvation - one is taking the mark as just mentioned, the other is remaining an unbeliever in death. The first one is as per this scripture, the second one ensures your name is erased from the Lamb's book of Life simply because you refused to believe while you had the opportunity.
Matthew 13 has a lot of parables and the parable of the wheat and the tares is a good example. In verses 24 – 30 it speaks of how a man sowed good seed in his field but an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat. When his servants found them they asked, should they remove them and he said: Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles and first burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. The disciples asked Jesus to explain this parable and in verses 36 – 43 it is clear. The field is the world: the good seed are the children of the kingdom: but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sewed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
A few things to think on:
Did God save Noah from the flood, (i.e. before) or through the flood? (i.e. after) Did God save both Job and Joseph from their trials, or did He deliver them through those trials? Were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego saved from the furnace, or through it? Did God save Daniel from the lion’s den, or through the lion’s den? Jesus says in Matthew 24: 9 in part: You will be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And in verse 13: But he that endures, was it to the beginning, to the middle, or to the END?
Those who believe in a pre or mid-trib rather than a post-trib view, always present the weakest case against the strongest case for it. 1st Thessalonians 5: 9 says: For God has not appointed us to wrath, [believers] but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. The wrath of God and the wrath of the anti-Christ (Satan in the anti-Christ’s body) are TWO different things. God’s wrath comes later – just after Jesus comes for His own at the end of Tribulation and is not directed towards believers. The purpose of the Tribulation is for the anti-Christ to pour out his wrath on all those who won’t bow down and worship him. So then, God’s children ARE appointed to Tribulation, but the ‘children of disobedience’ are appointed to God’s wrath. We are those who won’t take the mark and are persecuted in the Tribulation, some even to death, looking for His return at the end of it. Look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws nigh. In Daniel 12: 10 – 13 he is speaking about the end times and he tells us of 45 days that are not explained and could be for God’s wrath to take place then on the children of disobedience, the end of Satan’s rule coming after. In John 17 Jesus is praying a beautiful prayer to God and in verse 15 saying: I pray not that you should take them out of the world, (before time) but you will keep them from the evil. Meaning until the appointed time and to keep those who endure to the end. We all have to endure trials and troubles in this life, which are allowed from the Lord to help strengthen our faith.
To add a little about the millennium, which is the 7th day (1000 years) following Tribulation where Jesus reigns on earth. During the Tribulation there will be many still undecided, who for reasons of their own refuse to take the mark – those yet unsaved non-believers, (both Jews and gentiles who somehow survive the Tribulation,) will enter and re-populate the millennium; otherwise none would be alive to enter the millennium. It is only those unsaved that refuse the mark who enter the millennium. (Those saved will be raised at Jesus' return at the end of Tribulation and no-one with the mark will enter the millennium.) In God’s mercy, they will still have an opportunity if they repent. If this wasn't so, the millennium would be pointless. At the end of the 7th day, Satan will be released from the abyss to try to deceive those who haven't repented. This is not a ‘second chance’ so to speak, you only get one shot at this and that must be before you die whenever that is, (as there is no hope beyond the grave - Isaiah 38: 18) and this is how it will be for those unbelievers who are not risen with believers at the end of Tribulation but live to make the right choice in the millennium.
On taking the mark: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, ACCEPT THE MARK OF THE BEAST. Not under any circumstances and no matter what – even unto death. Anyone who gets the mark of the beast is already dead – their names will be erased from the Lamb’s Book of Life, Revelation 3: 5. Everyone’s name is in His book from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13: 8. Even every unbelievers name is there until, either by the wilful act of accepting the mark, or remaining as an unbeliever until death, which will seal their fate in both instances.
Something else to consider - Matthew 25: 1 - 13, the parable of the 10 virgins. Many would know and understand the meaning but briefly it is this: The 5 who were wise kept their lamps trimmed and full of oil, the light of the lamp represents their faith, the oil is God's word, which means they were spiritually prepared and awake to face whatever comes - they knew what to expect and fully expected it sooner than later. The 5 foolish slumbered, they too, knew what was coming but they didn't prepare their lamps, their light of faith was barely flickering, their oil had run out at the critical moment - God's word was not properly imbedded in their hearts, thinking it is far off yet and were unprepared to face the darkness and weren't accepted when the call came. They lost their faith and because of that, their salvation as well. Doesn't that sound like so many today. The bridegroom of course, is Jesus. The 5 wise virgins represents 50% of believers who maintained their faith (the 5 foolish were believers too but they were only lukewarm) and this parable is also a good example that you can lose your salvation if you turn away and don't continue. But this parable doesn't mention the believers who are martyred, so we have to break it down even further. Zechariah 13: 8 and 9 tells us the full figure - 2/3 of the population will be 'cut off' and killed, 1/3 will be refined - so it's a small number indeed and very sobering.
Psalm 23 is very encouraging and so beautiful to read -
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
It all comes down to the choices you make while you are alive - how much do you want and value salvation. Romans 8: 5 - 9 is something we should all consider and set our minds on as well and may be worth writing here:
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
In my END OF DAYS article I mention that there is an excellent place to learn spiritual truth and that place is ichthys.com and I can promise you, you won’t be disappointed. Save it to favourites, you will be going back to it many times.
Lastly, and this must seal it - is any more proof needed than what Jesus said?