The Christ in Prophecy Journal

The Rapture Under Attack (Part 1 of 2)

Noah preached for 120 years before the Lord delivered on His promise to destroy the world with water. I’m sure that in the final years before the flood came, he must have been severely mocked as a false prophet and a mad man. But God was faithful to His promise, and Noah was vindicated in the end.

Likewise today, people are scoffing at the promise of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and they are mocking those who are preaching it. I keep hearing comments like this: “People have been preaching the Lord’s imminent return for a hundred years, and nothing has happened.”

The irony is that this attitude is one of the signs that we are living in the final days of the end times, for the Bible says “that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?'” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

The Common and Frequent Criticisms

Let’s consider for a moment some of the criticisms that are being aimed at the concept of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

1) The concept is not in the Bible. The word, Rapture, is not mentioned anywhere in the Scriptures.

First, there are many biblical concepts and words that are not found in the Bible — like Trinity, Atheism, Divinity, Incarnation, Monotheism, Shekinah Glory, and even the word, Bible.

But the word, Rapture, is found in the Bible — in the Latin version, which was the Bible of the Western world for over 1,000 years (from 400AD to 1517). The word appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 where, in English, it says that a day will come when the living and dead in Christ will be “caught up” to meet Him in the sky. In the Latin, the term, “caught up,” is expressed as “rapiemur,” which is a declension of “rapio,” meaning snatch, or grab or abduct.

More importantly, the concept of the Rapture is clearly taught in the same passage (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) as well as other passages, such as John 14:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

2) None of the Church Fathers believed in a Rapture that was separate and apart from the Second Coming.

It depends on your definition of “Church Fathers.” All the true Fathers of the Church definitely believed in a Rapture that was distinct from the Second Coming. I’m speaking, of course, of Jesus who taught the Rapture in John 14:1-6; the Apostle Paul who wrote about it in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15; the Apostle Peter who described the principle of it in 2 Peter 2:4-9; and the Apostle John who does not mention the Church being on earth during the Tribulation (Revelation 6-18).

The later Church Fathers, who lived between 100 and 400 AD, were nearly all Premillennial in their Eschatology, but none of them seemed to pick up on the teaching of the Rapture. And when the Catholic Church endorsed Augustine’s concept of Amillennialism around 400 AD, all discussion of end time prophecy became taboo. That viewpoint pictured only one return of Jesus at the end of the Church Age.

Thereafter, You either accepted Amillennialism or you were burned at the stake, together with your writings.

3) The concept of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is too new to be true.

This is exactly what the defenders of Roman Catholicism said to Luther about his biblical concept of “salvation by grace through faith.”

It is true that the concept of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture was not crystalized in its final form until the writings of Englishman John Darby in the early 1800s, but we now have overwhelming proof that the concept was being discussed by Bible prophecy students for over 200 years prior to the time of Darby. (See William C. Watson’s book, Dispensationalism Before Darby, published in 2015.)

But then, how could there be any development of eschatology prior to the Reformation which began in 1517? During the Middle Ages, most people could not read, and even if they could, printed Bibles did not exist, nor were there translations available in the common languages of the people.

Once people obtained printed Bibles in their own languages, they quickly realized that the Amillennial view of the Catholic Church was based upon a spiritualization of the Scriptures. That’s when a revival of the Premillennial view occurred because it is based upon the plain sense meaning of the Bible’s prophecies. And that is also when Bible students began to notice that the Rapture is an event that is separate from the Second Coming.

Nor should the late development of the Pre-Trib Rapture concept be a surprise to anyone because the Scriptures themselves tell us that end time Bible prophecy will not be understood until the time comes for its fulfillment. For example, the prophet Daniel did not understand the end time prophecies that were given to him. And when he complained about this to the Lord, he was told, “these words are concealed and sealed up until the end times” (Daniel 12:9).

Many end time prophecies are being understood today for the first time because their fulfillment depended on either historical developments (like the re-establishment of the state of Israel) or technological inventions (like the atomic bomb and satellite television).

In the second and final part of this defense of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, we’ll debunk three more criticisms.

Resource

Dr. David Reagan interviews some of Christendom’s greatest experts on the Rapture! Some of them include Tommy Ice, Andy Woods, Mark Hitchcock, William Watson, Charles Ryrie, and Tim LaHaye.

To order this 1.5 hour long DVD, call 972-736-3567 between 8am and 5pm Central time, Monday through Friday, or order online.

In Defense of the Pre-Trib Rapture

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Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan serves as the Founder and Director of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher whose sermons have been distributed worldwide and has led 45 pilgrimages to Israel. Dr. Reagan is the host of the television program Christ in Prophecy.

4 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Right with you ,Dr. Reagan! Reformed Theology calls it a heresy taught by JNDarby and reject the clear teaching of 1Thess. 4:13-18 concerning the rapure! Even Kent Hovind was deceived while in prison.

  • How do you explain the following verses, which seem to refute pre-Tribulation Rapture?
    Matthew 24:29-33
    2 Thessalonians 2:1-5
    1 Corinthians 15:50-58
    Revelation 14:14-16
    1 Corinthians 15:20-26
    Mark 13:24-27

  • RAPTURE = Jesus comes to rescue the bride BEFORE the Tribulation
    SECOND COMING = Jesus will come AFTER the Tribulation to REIGN AND RULE ON EARTH.

    1. Matthew 24: 29-31: This is the 2nd Coming…at the end of the Tribulation…Not the Rapture of the Bride before the start of Jacob’s Trouble. As far as the Elect who are gathered in the 4 winds, there are many different scenarios as to who the Elect could be. I personally am led that it is armies of heaven, those of us who return with Jesus in fine linen, white and pure, as He returns to the earth. Interestingly enough, you didn’t go to the verses following verse 33, which goes even more in depth to the suddenness of the rapture, and how it will come unexpectedly, just as in the Days of Noah. At the end of the Jacob’s Trouble (for Israel and the unbelieving world) it is very clear and the timeline is extremely predictable, as, “…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.” If I were here during the Tribulation, I would know that as soon I saw these things occur, Jesus would return to the earth.

    2. 2 Thess. 2:1-5- Paul is speaking to people people of Thessalonica who were deceived into believing that Jesus had already raptured His bride. Clearly, it was a lie, as he explained to them that they would have been currently witnessing the Great Apostasy and the Antichrist reigning, which the Bride is not subject to. He told them this to ease their worry and provide them with comfort, as they were terrified. This was the same audience in which He preached, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them who are asleep. 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 who 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” Again, this was to provide comfort. There is absolutely nothing comforting about going through the Tribulation, thus the reason they were so distressed. Not one person can be comforted knowing that they are about to endure the most horrifying time known to man…regardless of the outcome. But there IS comfort in knowing that we will be caught up before this time of turmoil to test those who do not belong to Jesus.

    3. The last trumpet in 1 Corinthians 15 is not referring to the end of the Tribulation or even the 7th Trumpet in Revelation. Let’s keep in mind that Paul wrote this WELL before John’s book of Revelation which had NOT BEEN REVEALED TO ANYONE prior….Paul’s audience and NOT EVEN PAUL HIMSELF would have ANY idea about the 7th Trumpet judgement that John would refer to in Revelation.

    4. Keep reading further. This is judgement during the Tribulation for the inhabitants of the earth. We, the bride, are in our chambers in Heaven, as we are NOT destined to wrath..

    5. First Fruits:
    “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”

    So…The dead in Christ are raised first, then those who are alive and remain (the Bride) will meet Jesus in the clouds. Then comes the end at the conclusion of the 1000 year reign of Christ.

    AGAIN:

    RAPTURE = Jesus comes to rescue the bride BEFORE the Tribulation
    SECOND COMING = Jesus will come AFTER the Tribulation to REIGN AND RULE ON EARTH.

    6. Again…reiteration of Matthew 24.

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