MP3: The Rapture Road Thru 1 Thessalonians 5
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Since the first installment of The Truth Will Set You Free podcast series titled “The Rapture Road,” Pastor Vic Batista and Nathan Jones have been teaching through the Bible’s prophetic book of 1 Thessalonians in a verse-by-verse study. We will explore chapter five’s proofs for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
Sons of Light
Vic Batista: The Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:5 reminds us: “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” That reminds me of another of Paul’s letters, the one to the Ephesians, where Christians are told not to be drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Nathan Jones: And, that Christians are a royal priesthood, a people belonging to God. Just think about that truth for a moment. There are other verses which reveal that God sees us as His treasured possession, His children, and His beloved ones. Isn’t it amazing that the God of the universe, the Almighty who created everything including us, loves us so much? God loves us so much that He will willing to send His Son to die on the cross, so that when we put our faith and trust in Jesus, His sacrifice becomes our redemption. Our sins are forgiven and we then don’t have to face the wrath of God. We don’t have to face the wrath of God in the Tribulation nor the final wrath of God which is Hell.
Vic Batista: 1 Thessalonians 5:8 teaches, “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” This verse reminds me of Ephesians 6 where it tells us again, “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith, and love, and helmet of salvation.” It appears that those who are spiritually sober are to prepare for spiritual warfare.
Nathan Jones: Three characteristics then should define a Christian: faith, hope, and love. Verse 8 states them all right there.
Not Appointed to Wrath
Vic Batista: First Thessalonians 5:9 reveals that for Christians, “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Nathan Jones: Yes, this promise is paralleled in quite a number of other verses which teach that those who are the sons of the light, as Paul calls them, in other words, you are a saved Christian, then you don’t have to worry about living on this earth during the Day of the Lord nor having to endure the wrath of God. Ephesians 5:6 says the same thing with, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Again, God’s wrath is for the disobedient, not the obedient, again meaning those who are saved.
Also, look at Romans 5:9, “Since we have now been justified by His [Jesus’] blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him.” And, Colossians 3:4, “When Christ who is your life appears then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Finally, look at 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.” Again and again, the Bible provides the ironclad promise that if you are a saved believer in Jesus Christ then you will never experience the wrath of God, meaning the Tribulation and punishment in Hell.
Vic Batista: When it comes to the terror of God’s wrath, I’m reminded of Revelation 6:17 which asks, “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” This “great day of His wrath” is not talking about Christians for we are not going to be here. Praise the Lord! Jesus Christ will have raptured Christians to Heaven before pouring out His wrath in the Tribulation.Vic Batista: Praise the Lord! #JesusChrist will have raptured #Christians to #Heaven before pouring out His wrath in the #Tribulation. Click To Tweet
Nathan Jones: Christians are certainly not meant to ever have to endure God’s wrath, because the wrath of God again is for the ungodly and the disobedient, as Ephesians 5:6 says. They are the ones meant for God’s wrath.
Paul follows up this teaching on the Day of the Lord with 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” We should get our comfort from knowing Bible prophecy. We know how all things are going to end. In these dark times we can take great comfort knowing that for those of us who are saved from God’s wrath, we will never endure the worst the world will ever get.
Rather than finding comfort, for those who are unsaved, the Day of the Lord should be a terrifying teaching, for they will endure the most horrific times that lay ahead. These people living in darkness really need to give their hearts to Jesus Christ and surrender their lives to Him. That way, they will receive that same comfort that we Christians now possess.
When Christians share the Good News of Jesus Christ and the message of the Lord’s soon return at the Rapture, then as verse 11 says, we edify one another. We help our fellow Christians grow in their faith and their trust in Jesus Christ. Bible prophecy is meant to be fantastic as a message of edification.
Vic Batista: We believe in a Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulational Rapture and so don’t believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture for the very reasons Paul taught. I don’t see any comfort in a Post-Tribulation Rapture.
Nathan Jones: Not at all. If the Post-Tribulation Rapture view was true then Christians would have to endure seven years of God’s wrath as He beats up on His own Bride. Then after most of the Church had been decimated by the Antichrist, Christ at last returns and raptures us up, only to perform a u-turn and zip right back down again to the earth. Where’s the rescue in that? Where’s the hope of Christ’s coming? Where’s the encouragement and comfort in a Post-Tribulation Rapture? Absolutely none!
Vic Batista: The same thing with the Pre-Wrath Rapture view which teaches that the Church will live through most of the years of the Tribulation until the Bowl Judgments begin. I don’t see any comfort in that view either. Where’s the comfort from knowing God will beat up on the Church for 14 or so judgments?
Nathan Jones: Right! The Pre-Wrath Rapture view has the Church enduring the Seven Seal Judgments and six of the seven Trumpet Judgments. At last we are rescued from the Bowl Judgments. But, doesn’t Jesus Christ Himself breaks open the very first Seal Judgments? And, the Trumpet Judgments come from the throne of God? Revelation 15:1 tells us that with the Bowl Judgments God’s wrath has been completed, not just started. In other words, God’s wrath is about over, and not just started. No, all of the 21 judgments that we read about in Revelation are God’s wrath and so are never meant for the Bride of Christ. Rather, all 21 judgments are meant for an ungodly world that lives in rebellion against God. There’s no comfort and encouragement in the Pre-Wrath Rapture view.
Vic Batista: We are just touching on a few of the alternative views concerning the timing of the Rapture. The problem with all of these views which place the Rapture during the Tribulation is that they provide neither comfort nor encouragement for Christians today. They violate Paul’s teaching here in 1 Thessalonians 5.Vic Batista: All of these views which place the #Rapture during the #Tribulation provide neither comfort nor encouragement for Christians today. They violate Paul's teaching in 1 Thessalonians 5. Click To Tweet
Nathan Jones: Absolutely! We learn from the Fifth Seal Judgment in Revelation 6 that there’s going to be tremendous persecution of believers in Christ. Some people claim that judgment is a reference to the Church. That’s not the Church, though. Those people living through the Tribulation are called the Tribulation Saints. They are the ones who get saved after the Rapture and during the Tribulation. Unfortunately, they will have to endure the wrath of God because they waited too long to accept Jesus Christ and so missed the Rapture. They were left behind. They will become saved during the Tribulation.
We read in Revelation how the Tribulation martyrs once in Heaven will stand before the Lord in white robes and celebrate and praise Jesus Christ. The Tribulation Saints will later be resurrected into their glorified bodies at the end of the Tribulation. They will then rule and reign with Jesus Christ and the Church throughout the Millennial Kingdom. So, there is a great hope for those who will be living in the Tribulation, if they have accepted Christ that is, though they’ll most likely face martyrdom during that horrific time.
For the Church, though, we can be assured that we will not live on this earth during the Tribulation. It’s not a time period for us. It’s not our dispensation. The Church was not made for that time period. Just as Christians of the New Covenant were not made for the Old Testament, likewise the Tribulation is also not our time period.
Vic Batista: Excellent point! I think Paul made a pretty good case there in those opening verses of 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 that Christians can be comforted by the fact that we are not destined to have to endure the wrath of God during the Tribulation.
In the nineteenth and last part of our travels along the Rapture Road and our verse-by-verse study of 1 Thessalonians, we will conclude with the Apostle Paul’s final exhortations and blessings in chapter five.