The Rapture of the Church
by, Jan 25th 2009 at 06:46 AM (910 Views)
The Rapture of the Church
by Truthinlove - 5/25/07
I believe Scripture clearly defines when the rapture will happen in relation to other end-time events. My desire is that instead of taking my word for it, this article would encourage you to compare the Scriptures to each other and pray and see if you come to the same conclusion.
The Bible tells us that we won't know the day or hour of the rapture (Matt. 24:36), but just a couple of verses earlier (vs. 32 &33), He teaches us that we can know the season.
1 Thess. 4:13-18 & 5:1-2 describes the rapture. "And now, dear brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet Him ahead of those who are still in their graves. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words. I really don't need to write to you about how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night." NLT
The last two sentences are in a new chapter, but we must read it in context because his thought continues on the same topic of the rapture. In the original text there were no chapter or verse breaks. He has not changed the subject. If you were to start in ch. 5 you would naturally ask "when will what happen"? And the answer is the rapture, because that is what he was just talking about!
Paul gives us a name in regards to the timing of the rapture, it is the Day of the Lord. Clearly the rapture is tied together with the day of the Lord!! So, when does the day of the Lord begin?
Two very important Scriptures will help us out.
2 Thess. 2:1-4 says "And now, brothers and sisters, let us tell you about the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet Him. Please don't be so easily shaken and troubled by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Even if they claim to have a vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us, don't believe them. Don't be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed – the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy every god there is and tear down every object of adoration and worship. He will position himself in the ....temple.. of ..God...., claiming that he himself is God." NLT
In other words, the day that Christ comes and gathers us (the rapture) at the beginning of the day of the Lord will not happen until after the antichrist defiles the temple, an event which clearly happens at the halfway point of the 7 year period. (Dan. 9:27).
Joel 2:31 gives us the signs that happen prior to the day of the Lord "The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes."
So, now I would refer you back to the the Olivet Discourse in Matt. 24.
Here again the rapture is tied together with the day of the Lord...perfectly paralleling what Paul teaches in 1 & 2 Thessalonians.
Matt. 24:29-31 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."
We see the signs that announce the beginning of the day of the Lord, then we see the rapture. Notice the rapture and the day of the Lord will come after the midpoint when antichrist begins his persecution of the Jews and saints. Again, this parallels Paul's teaching about the rapture without contradiction.
I see these two texts as essential to knowing the timing of the rapture.
The Day of the Lord not a 24 hour day, it is a time period of unknown duration when God will pour out His judgment on the wicked during the 70th week. The Day of the Lord contains the wrath of God. Believers will not endure the wrath of God. (1 Thess. 1:10 & 5:9, Romans 5:9)
In Revelation, the Day of the Lord begins in Rev. 8, after the signs in the sun, moon & stars and after the rapture of the saints which is shown as the great multitude in heaven having come out of the great tribulation. The rapture occurs at the 6th seal in Revelation. After the cosmic signs, but before the Day of the Lord.
In Luke 21:28 we are told "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" in relation to the signs in the sun, moon and stars, because the rapture will take place after those signs and then God's wrath will begin.
2 Thess. 1:6-8 says "For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
We are given relief (raptured) from affliction (persecution by antichrist, aka - great tribulation) when Jesus comes, and then He will punish the wicked.
The days of the 2nd Coming are compared to the days of Noah and ..Lot.. (Matt. 24:37-39, Luke 17:26-30).
The righteous were rescued and the wicked destroyed on the same day. It will be "just the same" when Jesus returns. Also, the wicked mocked Noah for preparing and building the ark, but they were destroyed in the flood. It will be the same in the last days (2 Peter 3:3-4).
From the comparison of these Scriptures, I have come to the conclusion that the rapture will happen at the 6th seal of Rev. sometime during the 2nd half of the 7 years, after the great tribulation by the antichrist. Then the wrath of God will be poured out in the Day of the Lord via the trumpet and bowl judgments.