The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Ron Rhodes on the Timing of the Rapture


Which view concerning the timing of the Rapture is correct?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Ron Rhodes on the Timing of the Rapture

Which view of the Rapture is correct? Some say it happen before the Tribulation, in the middle of the Tribulation, before what’s deemed the wrath of God near the end of the Tribulation, or at the very end of the Tribulation. I believe that the Church is going to be raptured before the Tribulation period. It makes good sense for a number of reasons.

First of all, if you examine all of the Old Testament prophecies that deal with the Tribulation, the Church is never mentioned once. If you look at all the New Testament prophecies that deal with the Tribulation, the Church is not mentioned once.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9, we are told that the Church will be delivered from the wrath to come. Now there are a couple points to make there. The wrath to come is not just general wrath that we all experience. Rather, it is a specific period of wrath. It is the wrath to come which we Christians are to be delivered from it.

The Greek word for “delivered” there means “to be snatched away from.” The Church is promised to be snatched away from the wrath to come. To me, that goes right along with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 where it talks about how Christians are going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Christians are going to be snatched up to meet the Lord in the air.

Just think about that for a minute. Doesn’t the Lord have a long pattern of delivering His people before judgment falls? God delivered Noah before the Flood fell. He caught Enoch up to His side before the Flood fell. The spies were out of Jericho before the judgment fell on Jericho. Lot was out of Sodom before judgment fell on Sodom. I could go on and on. That is in keeping with who God is. And so, God is going to rescue the Church before His judgment falls upon the world.

It is such fallacious thinking when some people say that of the 21 judgments that fall during the Tribulation, according to Revelation, that only some of those judgments are God’s wrath and some are man’s wrath and some are Satan’s wrath. Some even say that wrath means Hell, therefore God will save us from Hell, but not all of these judgments. There is man’s wrath, but you’ve got to understand the context of Scripture, because the wrath of God is expressed through man’s wrath.

How did God chastise the Israelites in the Old Testament? Through the Assyrians. The Assyrians were his whipping rod. You see, God can use human wrath as an expression of His own wrath.

We’ve got to realize that the Church is not going to be judged twice for the same sins. Jesus took my sin on the cross. He’s not going to make me pay for that same sin again. Can you imagine a judge sitting there in his court of law looking down at a criminal and saying, “I am taking all of your crimes upon myself and paying for them. You will not have to deal with any of your crimes, I’m taking them all on myself. But, I’m going to send you to prison anyway for seven years where you will be cruelly treated.” That wouldn’t make any sense!

Why beat up on the Bride of Christ? Isn’t the Rapture called the blessed hope? What hope is there is you have to live through 21 earth-shattering judgments? If you’ve got to go through that kind of punishment, how could it possibly be blessed?

Jesus says, “Watch for me. I can come at any moment. Watch for me.” I’m living looking for the coming of Jesus Christ, because His return in imminent. If I didn’t believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, I would be living looking for the Antichrist, not Jesus Christ.

There’s a wedding metaphor that’s often used in terms of the Rapture. In ancient weddings, there would be a man or woman who would get betrothed. Then the man — the groom — would go to his father’s house to prepare a place in his father’s house for them to live. Then at some undetermined time, the groom would come back to fetch his bride.

That is a kind of picture of the Church. We are betrothed to Christ. We are the Bride of Christ. Christ is now preparing a place for us in the Father’s house, according to John 14. At an undetermined time, He’s going to take us from the earth to the place that He has prepared. Notice that in John 14 the passage says Jesus takes the Church to the place where He is. He doesn’t remain on earth like He does at the Second Coming. He takes us away from the earth to where He is in Heaven. That’s not Post-Trib, that’s not Mid-Trib, that can only fit a Pre-Tribulational scenario.

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ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. Nathan E. Jones

As the Internet Evangelist at Lamb & Lion Ministries, Nathan reaches out to the over 4.5 billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ. He also co-hosts the ministry's television program Christ in Prophecy and podcast The Truth Will Set You Free.

4 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Yes, this post makes sense. When we consider the activity of the Two Witnesses will take place during the first half of the 7 year Tribulation Period (Revelation 11:3); and when they are resurrected, there is no mention of the Church (Revelation 11:11,12).
    After this period hell continues to manifest, coming to a head.
    So, a Mid Trib. makes no sense. Three and one half years later things have crescendoed into Armageddon, when the Lord will bring things to its finality — making a Post Trib. exegetically untenable.

    • 2 Thessalonians 2 shows the state of mind of the church at Thessalonica. They were worried that due to a false letter they had received that somehow they were living in the “Day of the Lord,” which is the 7-year Tribulation culminating in Jesus’ Second Coming (Joel 1:15; 2:1-2,11, 31; Acts 2:20; 2 Thes. 2:3; Rev. 6:17). The Day of the Lord, Paul is assuring the Church, will not happen until the Antichrist makes a peace covenant with Israel for 7 years (Dan. 9:27) and a great rebellion or falling away from God occurs.

      The Bible makes it clear that the Tribulation is God’s wrath poured out upon the unbelieving world, and not for those who are saved from Christ’s resurrection to the Rapture – called the Church. True believers in Christ during the Church Age, represented by the Church of Philadelphia, are promised in Revelation 3:10, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” He also states in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:9 states, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Ephesians 5:6 states, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Colossians 3:4 states, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Again and again, Scripture states the Church is not meant to endure God’s special time of wrath.

      Paul earlier gives the Church of Thessalonica and all believers encouragement in the hope of the Rapture that we will not live into this terrible time (1 Thes. 4:18). And so, later in 2 Thes. 2:5 Paul reminds them of this teaching so that they don’t have to worry. He also encourages the church in verse 15 to hold on to these teachings on the Rapture so as not to be swayed by false teachings, and so we have the “eternal encouragement and good hope” that the Lord gives to strengthen us.

      For information on why we believe the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is the best argument for the timing of the Rapture, please check out these articles on our website at and and our “Christ in Prophecy” shows posted at


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