When is Rapture of the Church?
Pre, Mid, Post Tribulation?
Does the bible tell us when the rapture of the church will happen? Both the old and the new testament speak of this event. Rapture refers to the church being forcefully removed from the earth to be with the Lord Jesus. In 1 Thess 4:13-17 the Apostle Paul says "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 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." Can we trust this statement as being true and accurate?
Once we determine that this event is actually going to happen the next question is when will it happen? Paul had to write back to the Thessalonians because this statement stirred them up to the point that they were expecting it to happen at any moment. 2 Thess 2:1-11 " Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. 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: [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
So we've got an answer to our "when" question. There is a falling away and then the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way. "He who letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way" This verse refers to the rapture of the church. The Holy Spirit is lifted off the earth. The church goes with it. Then the wicked one is revealed. This wicked one is an individual. Daniel 9:27 speaks of him. "Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out desolate." Revelation 13:5 speaks of him. "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" Revelation 11:7 also refers to him "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." The "beast" and the "Antichrist" are synonymous. The Antichrist is an individual while the beast is the world system that he represents.
In Matthew 24:15, Jesus tells Israel how to deal with this wicked one. "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
What do we know so far? The wicked one is revealed after the church is taken out of the way. The wicked one makes a covenant with many for "one week." This "one week" is the missing week from Daniel's seventy week prophecy. It is also referred to as "the day of the Lord". Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
Now we have additional information. People won't be expecting the rapture of the church. They will be eating and drinking. There will be weddings, dinners, and events. People will be going to work at the mill or out in the field. Pretty much business as usual. Then it happens. One will be taken, and the other left. This information automatically disqualifies the idea of a post tribulation rapture. At the end of the tribulation period the world as we know it will be pretty much destroyed. It will not be a time of "business as usual". If the rapture is to happen during the tribulation period but sometime before mid-tribulation then how do you explain 2 Thess 2:7? The church is taken out before Antichrist is revealed. Antichrist cannot make a "one week" or "seven year" covenant with many while the church is still here. Daniel is clear. It is an individual that makes the covenant. Not the world system which is pictured as the "beast".
We have a picture of the raptured church in Revelation 5:8.. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; Some commentators believe that these elders refer to angels or heavenly beings. I believe they are representative of the church. There is no instance in the bible where the word elder refers to an angel. It is always a person and a representative of the people.
Who are they that are singing this song? They are the ones who are the subject of the verse. Those redeemed to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; These are not angels singing. This is not their song. This is the church singing. We are there with the Lord in heaven before the first seal of the scroll is even opened. The Lord has snatched us away to be with himself before the tribulation period begins. The tribulation period begins with the opening of the first seal of the scroll in chapter six.
In summary, the rapture of the church will happen when there is a falling away. Falling away from what? A falling away from the truth of the gospel. It will be a time when people call good evil and evil good. It will be a time when people attempt to change God's word into something perverted that it does not say. The rapture will happen before the son of perdition or Antichrist is revealed. This individual will then make a seven year covenant with Israel. Have we seen any of these things? We have definitely seen a falling away.
Get ready for rapture!