Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Pentecostal Theology | PentecostalTheology.com

Introduction
1. The parameters of the paper
a. I am committed to the doctrine of the pre-millennial return of Christ.
b. By “return of Christ” I mean:
1) His visible body return
2) His return in glory
3) His return in the fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10 and Revelation 1:7 Every eye shall see him, even those who crucified him.
c. The scriptures uses two terms to describe his coming
1) Epiphaneia: His appearance to the eyes of all humanity
2) Parousia: the most frequently used term of the second coming. It is the arrival – the coming

2. I am affirming the message of the angels at the ascension of Christ. (Acts 1:11) “And while the disciples were looking steadfastly into heaven, as he went up, two men stood by the disciples and said to them, you men of Galilee why are you standing gazing into heaven this very same Jesus shall return in the same manner that you have seen him leave.” (Author’s paraphrase)

3. The ascension of Christ is the paradigm of his return
a. He ascended bodily
b. He ascended in his resurrection body
c. He ascends to heaven and the right hand of power and glory
d. The body of ascension is:
1. The resurrected body
2. The crucified body resurrected and glorified body. He returns in the same body.

These matters are not in dispute

4. The rapture is a sudden literal, physical catching away of all believers: that is, those who look for him.

I. The issues here is the relationship of the rapture and the great tribulation
A. That is a question raised primarily by Pre-millennialists. Post-millennialists. and A-millennialists generally do not treat the book of revelation with this degree of literalists.
B. So what do we mean by the word “Rapture?”
1. We have already noted that it is sudden as in “snatching away” or
“taking up”
2. In the words of Scripture in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17 comes to mind.
“For the Lord himself …
a) Shall come down from heaven. He will descend from his throne in glory.”
b) His descent will be announced with
– A loud command
– The voice of the archangel
– The trumpet call of God
c) He will by his appearance:
– Bring with him the dead in Christ. They will be raised from the dead by his coming.
– Catch up or (snatch away) those believers who are alive and remain
– The living saints will trade their mortality for immortality
– Their corruption for incorruption
– Their dying body for a body made alive by the Holy Spirit “A spiritual body”
d) So shall we be with the Lord forever
e) To them who are looking for him He will appear without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)
f) This is what we mean by rapture
3. Rapture is the event in which
a. Christ will descend
b. The dead will rise
c. Those alive and remaining will be caught up
d. Believers will be changed into the perfect likeness of Christ, because they will see him as he is. (1 John 3: 1-3)

II. When will this occur in relation to the great tribulation?
A. This is not a concern for
1. Post- Millennarians
2. A- Millennarians
3. Those who treat the book of Revelation as though it is only a symbolic history of this world order and God’s judgment on it.
4. However it is of concern for me.
B. So what are our choices?
1. Pre-tribulation rapture
2. Mid- tribulation rapture (or some other point during the great tribulation)
3. Post- tribulation
C. The choice is determined by the distinction between the:
1. First resurrection: that is, the resurrection of the righteous, which is the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:4)
2. The resurrection of the rest of the dead: that is of the unbelievers. (Revelation 20:5)
3. Jesus used the term resurrection unto Life (John 5: 28-29) This is eternal Glory
4. In the same text he uses “resurrection unto damnation” This is eternal corruption and damnation.

III. The answer for me lies primarily in two passages of scripture Revelation 3:10 and Luke 21: 29-36
A. Revelation 3:10
1. The promises immediately addressed are to the church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3: 2-13)
2. This promise is broadened to include all believers because you have kept the word of my patience. (Revelation 3:10) It is a promise to all of the faithful.
3. The promise is specific to what believers are delivered from
a. It is the hour of the tribulation
b. That is about to come
c. On all those who dwell on the earth
d. It is followed by the words, “Behold I come quickly
(Tachu: quickly, without delay, soon, suddenly).
4. Note the following points in these text:
a. This text is specific in its description of the tribulation
1. This does not refer to the general trials that believers will all endure. “All those who live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
“To know Christ in Glory requires that we know him in the fellowship of his sufferings.” (Philippians 3:10)
2. The Language of this text shows that the trial referred to is still future. It is a future that is tied to the things that John describes in the book of revelation. Believers are now in tribulation, but not the Tribulation that is about to come.
3. This Tribulation is imminent. There are no yet to be fulfilled events standing in the way of the Great Tribulation, except the catching away of the church.
Note: Beware of the countdown eschatology that is popular at this time.
Anecdote: I have in my desk a booklet entitled “88 reasons why Jesus will come back in 88.” This is a museum piece in my Library.
So our attitude is one of expectation not of the tribulation, but of the Parousia.
4. The tribulation is by divine appointment. It is bound to occur. God has made the decree and nothing can stop it.
5. This tribulation is intended for “Those who dwell on the earth.” These words always describe the unbelieving world. In the book of Revelation this clause never refers to the church.
6. The Great Tribulation is not for the refinement of the church. It is God’s certain judgment on this world order and nothing can stop it.
7. The promise of Christ to the church is “I will keep you out of the hour of the tribulation.” (Eis tes horas tou perasmou) “Out of” does not mean protection while you are in the tribulation.
B. Luke 21: 34-36
1. This is partially parallel with Jesus’ eschatalogical discourse in Matthew 24. It is Luke’s version of that discourse.
2. There are two parts to this discourse:
Luke 21: 3-24
Luke 21: 25-37
Luke 21: 3-24 describes the current turmoil in this world order and the oppression, which the world and satan impose on the church.
We have no reason to expect protection from this oppression

Note these events
a. Jerusalem will be destroyed (21:6) How many times have we seen this?
b. Many will come claiming to be “I AM” These imposters will claim to be Jehovah (verses 6-8).
c. Natural disasters will increase in number and intensity.
d. Persecution will increase in number and intensity.
e. Jerusalem will come under increased threat. (21:20)
3. Luke 21:22 changes tone: “Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
4. These are the days of vengeance: that is, God’s Judgment on the earth and Jerusalem.
– On the earth because it is the sight of rebellion
– On Jerusalem because it gives itself to worldly power. (The power of the Anti Christ and its position in the world.)
5. This is parallel to Revelation 3:10 “The hour of the temptation that is about to come on the whole earth to try the ones that dwell on the earth.”
6. Jesus describes those things:
a. They are called the day of vengeance: The specific judgment of God.
b. This tribulation is world wide, not localized
c. It is aimed at the world not the church
d. Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles
e. There will be signs in the midst of the heavens and they will grow more and more in their intensity (21:25)
f. Men’s hearts will fail them for fear (Luke 21:26)
g. These things parallel the tribulations in the book of revelation.

7. Then comes the promise of Luke 21:27
“Then shall they see the Son of man while He is coming in power and great glory.” (Author’s paraphrase) Our personal redemption comes near or nigh and the kingdom of God is near in its fulfillment.
This is a quotation of Daniel 7:13 which is a prophecy of the end times.
“ I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven and came to the ancient of days and they brought him near before him and there was given to him dominion, glory and a kingdom that all people, nations, and languages shall see him. It will not pass way.
8. Jesus climaxes this discourse with an exhortation “While you are praying keep on watching in order that you may have the strength (KJV accounted worthy of) to escape all these things and to stand before the Son of man” (Authors paraphrase)

What are these things? They are the tribulation events that Jesus has just described

Conclusion: Is this escapism?
Yes with two provisions
1. You escape the earthly judgments
2. You escape in order that you may stand before the Son of man who is the Judge of all.
3. Does God provide the escape? Yes
4. We escape in order to stand face to face before the Son of man in his glory and kingdom.
5. This is the promise of Zephaniah 2:3 “Seek ye the Lord, all the meek of the earth which has wrought this judgment Seek righteousness; seek meekness, It may be that you shall be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.
Is this escapism? No it is God’s provision.
Is it escape? Yes
– Escape from judgment to receive glory
– Escape from hell and death to receive heaven and everlasting life
– I can live – live eternally – with that kind of escape.

R. Hollis Gause
General Council, 7/29/14

65 Comments

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Rico Hero Scotty Searan Post trib rapture, a-mil, escapism and other false accusation of Pentecostal eschatology proper promptly challenged by one of the leading Pentecostal scholars while still living. Now that he is in heaven his challenge is rightfully proven Did you watch this video Ricky Grimsley Dan Irving

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Dan Irving

    I watched this. What is driving the Pre-Trib position is literalism in respect to the book of Revelation, wherein one’s personal interpretation of metaphor predominates over explicit statements of Christ and His apostles.

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Well if we have to be completely honest What is driving Pentecostalism is a literal interpretation of the whole Bible rightly divided. Depart from literal interpretation and you are liable to depart from Pentecostalism Many examples for this rule have been made here by prima-pronto bapticostals

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    If perry stone cant convince me im sure this guy cant either.

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Werent you cog or something and you dont know this?

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Troy Day, When Jesus spoke of sowing seeds, reaping harvests, leaven in dough, etc., I suppose he was talking about the finer points of gardening and baking. (Other than direct commandments, Scripture taken literally, is often taken errantly.)

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    There is no scriptural case for pre-trib. I have heard all the best and all they do is ignore the obvious.

    • Reply July 5, 2017

      Rico Hero

      Ricky, you will be eating crow bro

    • Reply July 5, 2017

      Ricky Grimsley

      Ill be happy to. I hope for pre-trib because inknow what is coming. I just dont see it in the bible.

    • Reply July 6, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      1Thes 3 – plenty of pre-trib scripture there

    • Reply July 6, 2017

      Ricky Grimsley

      For pre-trib. Nah

    • Reply July 6, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Your personal opinion on the text of 1Thes 4 is much weaker than what the text of 1Thes 4 actually says to the Christian community today

    • Reply July 6, 2017

      Ricky Grimsley

      If you keep reading into chapter five you see that paul also calls the rapture the day of the lord and this ends the argument of pretrib

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Scotty Searan

    I watched video but I am still prewrath
    My question can a person not receive the Mark and give their life for the cause of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost be gone?

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Dan Irving

    BTW, He glosses over that John chapter 5 reference, when a careful reading would entirely undermine his use of that scripture.

    • Reply July 5, 2017

      Scotty Searan

      My understanding of the Scriptures no one can be saved unless The Holy Ghost draws them
      If the Holy Ghost is gone, as some teach, who will be doing the drawing?
      Since people are being saved during the Great Tribulation, I guess they are being saved by works not by faith.
      Is that possible? If not they’re perverting the Gospel

    • Reply July 5, 2017

      Dan Irving

      I refer to the Lord’s words concerning the 1st vs. the 2nd Resurrection wherein he supposes one is for the righteous and the 2nd is for the wicked. (ie. as justification for making distinction between a “Pre-Trib Rapture” and the “Second Coming.” He makes the Lord’s coming all about he resurrection of the damned. But he misunderstands that scripture.

    • Reply July 5, 2017

      Scotty Searan

      Yes he does. But I would be glad for them that believe this if it did happen the way they teach. We would be going
      But if it’s the way we believe then you will see the great falling away.

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Dan Irving what/whose John chapter 5 reference? #missedit

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    The holy spirit never leaves the earth. He is omnipresent anyway. The hinderer of lawlessness is michael.

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Troy Day, the reference is to Jn 5:25-29. He improperly uses John 5:29 to separate the bodily resurrection into two events.

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Ricky Grimsley Is Michael on earth right now? Hardly. The Church is the hinderer of lawlessness. When the church is taken in the pre-Trib rapture teh evil one shall appear. 2 Thess 2 is plain and simple about the body of Christ being the hinderer of lawlessness.

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Dan Irving

    The Hinderer of lawlessness is the restraining force of which Paul speaks. That is not the church, nor is it the spirit in the church.

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Dan Irving

    It is the spiritual principle of the law. (Room. 7:14-15)

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Men will begin to cast aside this spiritual governor over their thoughts, words, and behaviors.

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    The Hinderer of lawlessness is the restraining force of which Paul speaks is the church namely the Body of Christ of church Paul speaks and refers to as He – the Body of Christ

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    So who are these people?Daniel 11:32 KJVS
    [32] And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits .

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Dan Irving

    The generality of mankind do not have God’s spirit, so I fail to see how that is their restraint. What restrains men is the law, which itself is administered by angelic authority, according to Hebrews.

  • Reply July 6, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Angelic authority shall cease operating in restraint of sin and lawlessness.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    How so when in Revelation we see that the more demonic activities increase around the Beast during the Tribulation the more angelic activities press on and are more present? One author even said that we observer more angelic activities during the Tribulation than the whole Bible all together. Just count the trumpets, seals, bowels and so on during the Tribulation…

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    Angelic activity increases but its to pour out wrath

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    which only proves that neither Micheal not the rest of the angels are the removed Hinderer of lawlessness They are on earth They are not removed

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Rickey Matthews

    How can i get a copy of your serman

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    The Law is SPIRITUAL. (Rom. 7:15)
    The Law exists as a restraint upon transgression. (Gal. 3:19)
    The Law governs ALL men. (Rom. 2:15)
    The Law is placed in the hands of angels for its ministration of reward and punishment. (Heb. 2:2)
    Isn’t the conclusion rather clear then, that the loosening of restraint involves a change in how angelic authority operates among men/mankind?

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    While the Church might be a reason the angels act in restraint of lawlessness, the Church does not appear the direct mechanism of this. In fact, when we read the prophets, it becomes clear that God will allow godlessness to overwhelm the Church, distress it, and persecute it.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Well exactly as per the law requirement – the law was for the people not for the angels. The angels are not held responsible to the morality of the law SO if the spiritual principle of God’s wrath according to the spiritual law (Rom. 7:15) holds humans and not angels responsible, then it is only reasonable to suggest that the moral agent of the law ie. the church is the constrainer and not Michael or angels who have no relation with the law given to humankind by God

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    That statement seems in entire contradiction to the four verses of scripture just presented.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    How so? Hebrews 2:2 namely says the angels are needed on earth for wrath punishment deriving from law to be executed. So if angelic presence is taken away (which we see it is not in Revelation) who is to execute the wrath? Hebrews 2:2 only confirms what I’ve explained above

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    You assume the only agency of angels is to punish transgressions of the law.
    They are also ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation (Ps. 91:11) and perform God’s will in other respects. (Ps. 103:20)
    The Law has authority over Sin. (Gal. 3)
    It is the spiritual principle of Sin that brings the spiritual principle of Death (Rom 5:21)
    Death is empowered by Sin, because by Sin, the Law must come to bear upon men. (I Cor. 15:56)
    Therefore, the power of that angel, Satan, resides in the continuation of man in a condition of Sin, and so, Death. (Heb. 2:14)
    But we also know that Grace annuls this principle (Rom. 5:20) that allows angelic authority to increase by virtue of Sin.
    So then, we have a problem. What happens if Sin is allowed to increase despite the principle of Grace being in operation?

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    This is the ministry of the false prophet we see in active operation in the church today, where men continue in sin despite coming into a profession of Jesus Christ. They fall into neither the camp of the sanctified (ie. those who by Grace, are gaining strength unto holiness rather than earthly strength) and neither do they fall into the camp of God’s provision for humanity (a system of punishment and reward designed to allow the morally-upright to exist, function, and to prosper in this world.)
    They promote neither the interests of Christ, nor the proper agency of angels. They promote lawlessness.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    But we cannot have it both ways. If the angelic authority is abridged in terms of its ability to punish Sin and reward upright behavior, then Lawlessness will increase. Therefore, proper ministry is to preach moral uprightness (ie. the Law) in order to ready men for their day of Grace, when the Law will give way to God’s mercy, when they can be embraced by God without respect to their guilt.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    But the false-gospel teaches men a LIE concerning GRACE. They like to use the term “the FAVOR of God,” as a synonym for Grace; (e.g. see Bill Johnson) supposing they can have God’s mercies, and the benefits of angelic reward in terms of earthly strength. They don’t know that their power resides in their earthly WEAKNESS.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Therefore, because evil angelic authority is threatened by this principle of Grace, it uses deception to lie about Grace (in a variety of ways) so as to disrupt its smooth operation that would lead to a sanctified body of Christ. He distorts the truth, telling men they can LIVE, when Grace means they must DIE to this world. He deceives them to wrongly invest spiritual things into the life of the Beast (man’s brute nature.) And, because Satan’s direct authority to bring death has been abridged, he transfers his authority to men in exchange for their submission and worship of him. (Matt 4:9) The Restraining force, is removed by the abuse of the Gospel through the subsiding of direct angelic authority. Man himself, becomes the monster, formed into the image of the Devil.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Not disagreeing with your explanation of human sin and moral law All I am saying is that Heb 2:2 and other verses cited only prove it cannot be angelic agent holding the appearance of the beast – also of angelic origin. This was tried and did not work with the fall of Satan. Therefore God gave this purpose to the newly created human kind. This strategy was confirmed with the authority given to the church over fallen angels in the Great Comission This is namely the authority that needs to be removed before the evil one can appear. It is the authority of the church over the Kingdom of Satan that stops the beast from appearing. Jude clearly confirms that when saying that even Micheal was not yet given authority over Satan until later in Revelation with for that specifically designated time. So there is no agent on earth right now beside the church that withholds the appearance of the beast except the church. It is the church WHO needs to be removed before he can appear and rule

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Hence the danger of a doctrine of church-escapism. You believe your very presence prevents the rise of that which is already here & has already deceived! What a great strategy!

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Don’t you know he shall overcome the saints? So how can you say the saints will be gone? ?

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Yes, he will overcome the saints of Israel for a short time, but the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. Even political NAR preaches that 🙂

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    That’s not what it says. Pure surmise. Troy Day, you need to tighten up your exegesis.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    My exegesis is sound, you perhaps meant hermeneutics. Please give us your explanation:

    Revelation 12:12 Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil has come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a <>

    Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; <>

    Matthew 16:18 I will build my church, and the gates of hell[b] shall not prevail against it. – Jesus promised it not to break His promise in Revelation

    Revelation 11:12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. <>

    much similar like John and the 7 churches did in Rev 4: 1

    After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

    Oh Church, KEEP on LOOKING and WAITING for there is a door in heaven that is about to open and a voice calling you saying: Come up here!

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    As to each:
    Rev. 12:12 Who are the inhabitants of earth? This is not literal, ie. they are not the “Left Behind” folks. They are those whose hearts are still in this world, who have not been raised into the heavenlies with Christ Jesus, pursuant to Eph.2:6.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Rev 12:11 is speaking not of the whole of the professing church. It is speaking specifically of those who overcame.

    • Reply July 7, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Exactly! For those who overcome during the great tribulation, while the rest of the church are already gone in the Rapture

    • Reply July 8, 2017

      Link Hudson

      Troy Day Show us the part about the rest of the church being raptured first… in the Bible. Something clear that doesn’t rely on heavily allegorical interpretation (e.g. John hearing ‘come up hither) would be nice.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    And this is perhaps why out interpretations differ. I take Revelation literal. Once it become symbolic we depart from theology toward preterism or even amilenialism like Augustine who claimed Rev 20 and the Millennium is only symbolic Link Hudson claimed Christians never go to heave. Do you believe Christians go to heaven?

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    So a dragon chased a woman? So a beast arises from the sea?

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Satan is bound with a literal chain of iron?

    • Reply July 7, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Absolutely! And an angel appeared to Marry. And the red sea opened and a voice was heard when Jesus was baptized. Once we take this and that symbolic someone should ask Did Jesus died for real or was it just symbolic?

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Does it say it? Than I believe it!

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    We are not to be children in our understand, but men.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    I am a man in my understanding who believes that if it says the fish eat Jonah or even if it says Jonah eat the fish this is how it went down. For I have known many Pentacostal preacher men who have eaten fishes much bigger than them and put the whole fish camp restaurant into bankruptcy 🙂 Ricky Grimsley

    • Reply July 8, 2017

      Link Hudson

      Classifying whales as not a fish is a modern scientific distinction, which draws from Aristotle’s classification system, not the Biblical classification system.

      In our system, locust are insects. In the Biblical classification system, they are different from most other critters we’d call insects and are kosher.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dan Irving

    If we are unwilling to consider metaphor, we lock ourselves out of understanding what God has/would communicate; as He has chosen to use parable and metaphor to engage us in contemplating His kingdom and His ways. In fact, isn’t it rather presumptuous to think spiritual things are confined to the material and base? These tangible references are only symbols.

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    None the less, I do appreciate the gentleman’s tone of the discussion

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