Timing of the Rapture :: By Daniel Payne

Many people agree that the resurrection that is the Rapture is clearly taught in scripture:

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will 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 thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Unfortunately, the area of the Rapture where many people disagree is the timing of the blessed event. When will it occur—before, during, or after the Tribulation?

Some believe that the Rapture will occur during the middle of the Tribulation (Mid-Trib). Some people base that belief upon the resurrection of the two witnesses at the mid-point of the Tribulation:

“Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them” (Revelation 11:11-12).

The two witnesses are indeed part of the first resurrection. Although they are called up to heaven with a voice saying “come up here”—there is no mention of a trumpet. There is also no mention of anyone else ascending up to heaven along with the two witnesses—let alone the Lord Jesus coming down to receive them unto Himself.

The Rapture will not occur during the Tribulation. Further evidence—as found in the Bible—also clearly shows that the Rapture does not occur after the Tribulation either (Post-Trib).

There is no mention of a Rapture or a resurrection when the Lord descends from heaven in a very visible way in Revelation chapter 19. See for yourself:

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:11-15).

No resurrection occurs there at all. The Lord does not “receive” anyone to Himself (John 14:3) at that time either. In fact, the next time a resurrection is mentioned is not until after Satan is defeated at Armageddon and cast into hell:

“He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 20:2-3).

Based on the verses above and below, the final stage of the first resurrection will happen after the Lord has already returned to the earth and defeated His enemies:

“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:4-5).

The Tribulation saints were killed “for their witness”—and then they lived again—after the Lord’s earthly victory over His enemies. This completes the first resurrection. The first resurrection is not a single event—it is to be accomplished in several stages. These stages include:

The resurrection of Christ the first-fruits (1 Corinthians 15:23).

The resurrection of those who belong to Christ at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The resurrection of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:11).

And finally—The resurrection of the Tribulation saints (Revelation 20:5).

The first resurrection encompasses the resurrection of Christ and all true believers—raised at different times and in different stages.

The Bible records no specific signs that precipitate the Rapture. However—there are many signs that precipitate the Tribulation:

The formation of Israel in 1948 as prophesied in Ezekiel 39:21-29 and Luke 21:29-31. For the first time in many centuries, the Jews have a national existence in their own homeland.

The rise of numerous other nations as prophesied in Luke 21:29. Jesus predicted that not only would the fig tree shoot forth, but that all the trees would as well. The demise of historical colonial governments has given rise to many new nations within the last century.

The ecumenical movement was prophesied in Revelation 17 and 18, as “Babylon the Great.” A vast religious, political, and commercial system made up of apostate religious bodies that profess to be Christian is hastily moving toward creating a new world super-church.

The great apostasy and falling away from true fundamental biblical faith, as prophesied in 1 Timothy 4 and 2 Thessalonians 2, is taking place around the world today.

The drastic decline of moral standards as prophesied in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. The truth of this total moral depravity and breakdown cannot go unnoticed in our modern age of 24-hour social media and news.

Widespread violence and civil disobedience as prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. This mystery of lawlessness is already working overtime through the spirit of the antichrist.

The rise of anti-Christian spiritualism that takes the form of “Christianity” was prophesied in 2 Timothy 3:5-8 and 1 John 2:18. This false Christian spirit is manifested in many false cults which profess to be Christian but deny almost every fundamental doctrine of the true Christian faith. They deceive by intimidation.

The current will of nations to align themselves together into groups that either approximate or outright fit the lineup of nations as prophesied in Psalm 83, Isaiah, Ezekiel 38-39, Daniel, etc.

The rise in frequency of earthquakes, the threat of worldwide famine and disease, and the increasing racial tensions among nations as prophesied by the Lord in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21).

The apathetic denial of the impending intervention by the Lord into the affairs of mankind by way of the Rapture, the Tribulation judgment, and the literal 1,000-year Millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

Don’t let long and complicated theses attempting to explain the interpretive flaws of others perplex you. The timing of the Rapture shouldn’t take a lot of explanation. Let the plain truth of God’s Word speak for itself.

Any day now, a multitude of people will suddenly vanish from all around the earth without a trace. We finally sense that He is very near and almost here.

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).