#10 – The Rapture

At this point in your studies you might be asking yourself  “Why are there so many different beliefs, teachings and understanding about the rapture, the tribulation and the 2nd coming of Christ?” … One reason:

2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

As described in many elements of this study, if you can rightly divide the word of truth than you can wrongly divide it as well. So many out there give no consideration to the biblical order of dispensations quoting: Acts 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

But this verse does not mean that all the Bible was written to apply to us, but rather: “all the Bible was written for you, but not all the Bible was written to you.” ~James Coffman

There are many different teachings floating around about the Rapture:

  • Some say there is no rapture
  • Some say the rapture is before the Tribulation
  • Some say the rapture is in the middle of the Tribulation
  • Some say it is after the Tribulation.

But you only need to look at the reason for the rapture and the purpose of the Tribulation to get the right division and understanding. We will examine the purpose for both because once you understand the purpose of each event it becomes clear the appropriate, biblical placement.

What is the rapture.

The rapture is the calling away of the church. While the word rapture does not appear in the Bible it is the common term used to describe the event.

1 Thessalonians 4:16  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:

17 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.

The purpose of the rapture is to remove all who have truthfully accepted Christ as their personal Saviour… prior to God getting things settled with Israel. Note that this is the removal of people, not organizations, states, countries, nations or religions.

Note also these verses:

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 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.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Note that Trumpet:

Revelation 4:1  After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

Revelation 4 takes place BEFORE the Tribulation…

The next event that follows the rapture here on earth is the Tribulation. The tribulation is where God deals with Israel, false religions and nations over a period of approximately 7 years… literally pouring out His wrath (more will be covered in lesson 14)

In order to understand the purpose of the Rapture we need to look at what the Tribulation is for:

The Tribulation is by definition “Jewish”

Jeremiah 30:7  Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:

9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.

11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.

Note also these verses:

Ezekiel 20:37  And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:

38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

Remember ever since Abraham God has called a people unto himself. When Jesus came the Jews rejected the New Covenant and crucified Him turning over the New Covenant to the Gentiles (Church)

Romans 11:11  I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

As a result God must remove the Church prior to the Tribulation… simply because the Tribulation is God dealing with Israel.. not the Church.

Additional supporting text:

2 Thessalonians 2:7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

1 Thessalonians 5:9  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Thessalonians 1:10  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Revelation 3:10  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.

I can just wait until the rapture… THEN get saved

In my years of ministry I have, and many of my Pastoral friends have come across the crowd that says “when I see the rapture, I will get saved”. Scripture is pretty clear that if you are going to get to Heaven, you are going to go God’s way or no way. (John 14:6).

The biggest issue with that belief is found in verse 11 below:

2 Thessalonians 2:7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Today is the day to get saved.

2 Corinthians 6:2  (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)