The Rapture - Part 2 - Pre-Trib, Mid Trib or Post Trib?
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The Rapture is a much debated topic among and even within denominations. Some believe emphatically that there will be a “Rapture”. Others believe that there is no such thing. Even with in the group who do believe in “The Rapture”, there are differing schools of thought on when “The Rapture” will occur. In order to explain these differences, one must 1st understand “The Great Tribulation” because “The Rapture” is contingent upon “The Great Tribulation”.
“The Rapture” depends upon the time line of “The Great Tribulation”. It is called “Great” because tribulations have and will occur throughout history, but in the end times, there will be a time of tribulation that is unparalleled in history. The original Greek word used is Thlipsis, and the word “Tribulation” appears to be the most accurate interpretation. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “tribulation” as: distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution ; also : a trying experience.
This will be a time in which we will see the greatest number of man-made and natural disasters to ever fall upon the Earth. There will be an economic collapse, and a depression worse than any in recorded history. People will work all day just to feed themselves, let alone a family. They will find themselves forced to receive a mark, which will be the only way they will be able to buy or sell. There will be more numerous and massive earthquakes, famines, (even in developed countries), pestilence of pandemic proportions, super-hurricanes and typhoons, asteroid/meteor impacts, world-wide war and nuclear war/terrorism. In all, three quarter of the world population will perish during this time called “The Great Tribulation”.
There is disagreement within the Christian community regarding the length of time that “The Great Tribulation” will last. One thing is certain; it is at least 3 ½ years and not more than 7 years. It is my belief that the period of time known as “The Great Tribulation” is seven years.
Many theologians and believers would disagree because they see periods of three and a half years, which can be found in Daniel, and Revelation below:
He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. Daniel 7:25
The phrase, “a time and times and half a time” is referring to 3 ½ years. We get this by understanding the use of the word time to mean one year and times as two years and half a time as half a year. Time is used to mean year several times in the Bible. I will stick with the simplest explanation because the most literal and simple explanations are usually the most accurate.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate." Daniel 9:27
Here Daniel is telling us that the anti-Christ is going to confirm a covenant of peace for a period of one week. The original Hebrew text repeatedly uses “week” as a seven year period. I do not believe there is any debate about that. Daniel then goes on to say that, the anti-Christ will then put a stop to sacrifices and offerings in the middle of that week, essentially, 3 ½ years. Again there is no disagreement about this either.
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; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished. Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?"
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, 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. "But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days." Daniel 12:7-13
Based on what Daniel is saying here, we again see a 3 ½ year period and then a 1290 day period. Normally a 3 ½ year period is 1260 days based on the Hebrew Calendar of a 360 day year. Unlike our 365.24 day year, in which we add 1 day during our leap year, every four years. The Hebrew calendar adds an extra 30 day month for its leap year. Every year their calendar loses 5.24 days so every 7th year they add an extra 30 day month. Many scholars and theologians fail to pick up this clue. When studying Bible prophecy, we find that the last year of “The Great Tribulation” is a Hebrew Leap year. Daniel then states, that those who wait for 1335 days are going to be blessed. I believe he is referring to the Saints who are left behind that missed “The Rapture” because they were not ready at that time. Daniel seems to be insinuating that something great and wonderful is going to happen to those believers at that time. Unfortunately, Daniel does not give us any clues as to what that might be.
Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. "But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." Revelation 11:1-3
Here John is referring to the Temple in Jerusalem and he is being told that the “Gentiles” (non-Jews) will be using the outer court for forty-two months. And then he says that God’s two witnesses will prophecy for 1260 days or 3/12 years.
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Revelation 12:5-6
But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. Revelation 12:14
Finally, John is giving a metaphor (twice) which is important to understand. The woman is Israel and the Child is Jesus. I believe the food/nourishment is the Gospel of Jesus Christ being preached and accepted by the Jewish people.
The key to understanding how many of us come up with a seven year Tribulation period, is really quite simple. When we look at Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 12:11 we see two separate, but distinct 3 ½ year periods that are consecutive in nature. “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” (Daniel 9:27) & "And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11). So it is logical to conclude that when you add them together, there are seven years (which includes the Jewish Leap Year with the additional month). The evidence to support that seems to me, uncanny.
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (MKJV)
Furthermore, when we look at Daniel 9:27 along with II Thessalonians 2:6-8 above, we can assume that that the person of the anti-Christ will not be revealed until the one who restrains him is out of the way. So who is restraining him?
Many students and scholars of Bible Prophecy see the “One” who is taken out of the way as the Holy Spirit. Many Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is removed during “The Rapture’ of the believers (the Elect). Without any true believers left there is no one left with the ability to fight the spiritual battle against evil. Satan is then given free reign to reveal the one of lawlessness, the man of sin (the person of anti-Christ). If that view is correct then the anti-Christ can not be revealed prior to the departure of the Elect. Then by understanding Daniel, we can reason that the anti-Christ has a Seven year reign in which he confirms a covenant and then breaks it halfway through and then there is 1290 days left before the end.
So after understanding what “The Rapture” and “The Great Tribulation” are, it is easier to understand the timing of “The Rapture” itself. There are essentially three main views with regard to when “The Rapture” will occur: the Pre-Tribulationist, the Mid-Tribulationist, and the Post Tribulationist. I will explain all three:
1. The first view is called the Pre-Tribulation view. Those who subscribe to this view believe that “The Rapture” will occur sometime prior to “The Great Tribulation”.
2. The second view is called the Mid-Tribulation view. Believers of this view suggest that “The Rapture” will occur at the mid-point of “The Great Tribulation” Forty-two months in, at the “Last Trumpet” of Revelation 11:15.
3. The final view is referred to as the Post-Tribulation view. The believers of this view believe that “The Rapture” will occur after the “The Great Tribulation” when Jesus appears in full glory, ascending from Heaven in the clouds and then they will be caught up to meet the lord in the air, as in 1Thesolonians 4:16-17.
You can formulate your own opinion on this. I suggest that you wrestle with this for a while and pray diligently about it. As with everything, you have to discard all you know from what others, like myself suggest to you and formulate your own answer based on a decision given to you by the Holy Spirit.
I tend to lean towards the Pre-Tribulation view for several reasons. My reasoning for this is simple. First, we need to look at more of the scripture in Daniel 9 to get a fair assessment of the context:
"Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."
I think it is very important to understand that Daniel mentions a period of 70 weeks. If each day equals a year then seven days times seventy years equals four hundred ninety years. He goes on to say that there will be an end of sin in 490 years. As far as I can tell, sin still exists. But then he goes on that from the call to rebuild and restore Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah, there will be seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks. Again, a week equals seven years so 7weeks + 62weeks = 69weeks. Then multiply 69 weeks times 7 days and we get 483 years. Daniel then states that after that the Messiah will be cut off. So after 483 years Messiah is cut off.
Daniel goes on to state that there is another week (7 years) in which the anti-Christ confirms a covenant and then breaks it 3 ½ years into it. Ultimately, Daniel stated that there would be 490 years, until there would be an end of sin and since the Messiah was cut off after 483 years there are still 7 years left. I believe the clock stopped when the Messiah was cut off and it will begin ticking again once the 7 year covenant is confirmed thus completing the 490 years.
In Matthew 25, Jesus is speaking to his Disciples and tells them an important parable. The Parable of the ten virgins. He is telling them this immediately after the discourse regarding the signs of his return. Read carefully below and make your own conclusion:
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, "but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. "But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. "And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' "But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' "But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
So after reading this, I come to a logical conclusion that Jesus is telling his disciples that his return will be a mystery. He will come when they least expect and some will not be ready because they have gotten too caught up with the cares of this life. Only one chapter before this, in Matthew 24, Jesus warns his disciples to watch and be ready because he will come like a thief in the night and that no one will know the day or the hour. In Matthew 24:31-33 Jesus tells them to watch for the signs and they will be able to tell when the time is close. He does not give them the day or hour, but gives them signs to look for.
“The Rapture” will occur quickly according to St. Paul, “Behold, I show 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” I Corinthians 15:51-52.
So this is a very quick change and it happens when we least expect it. So we are commanded to be ready at all times. It is a surprise, but not a total surprise. It’s like a party that will be thrown in your honor. You know that a party is being planned, but you don’t know when it will occur. You expect it to happen, but don’t know when and who might be there. Suddenly you walk into your home to find 50 people blowing horns and saying surprise. Although you knew it would happen, you are still surprised. I imagine that “The Rapture” will be much the same except this will be the greatest party of our eternal lives. This leads to another reason that I believe in that the Pre-Tribulation rapture.
A problem I have with the Mid-Tribulation rapture and the Post Tribulation rapture is that if we assumed that the rapture were to occur at the middle or the end of “The Great Tribulation”, we would know the date that “The Rapture would occur. How? Let’s turn back to what Daniel said in Chapters 9:27 & 12:11. 1st he tells us in 9:27 that the anti-Christ will make a covenant for seven years and then half way through it, he stops the daily sacrifices. This would make the Mid-Tribulationists aware of the timing (three and a half years) of “The Rapture”. Furthermore, Daniel states in 12:11 that after the daily sacrifices are stopped there will be 1290 days until the end. So this would allow the Post-Tribulationists to calculate the date of “The Rapture” (1290 days). There is no mystery in either of those views and Jesus already told us that his coming would be a surprise to his believers, but still many will be ready, because they were found doing what they were supposed to be doing.
Another problem I have with the Mid-Tribulationist and the Post Tribulationist views is that they leave the “Elect” on the Earth during some or all of the Tribulation and thus in harm’s way. Both believe that the “Elect” will be sealed and supernaturally protected from God’s wrath, but leaves them open to extreme persecution and suffering as they watch their family and friends perish. Although, I believe there will be persecution of the Saints during the “The Great Tribulation”, the Saints being referred to in Revelation are those who did not believe prior to “The Great Tribulation” and they became Christians during it. Since they were not ready at the time Jesus came to save them from it, they were left behind. I believe after “The Rapture” many will become believers (Gentile and Jew), especially knowing that their family and friends who were believers were Raptured.
*****************End of Part 2***********************
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