It is stunning the number of articles on the Internet mocking or denying the pre-tribulation rapture. It seems many are turning to the pre-wrath, post-tribulation rapture. Why? Do these preachers and laity know that they are looking for the anti-christ and not Jesus? Hebrew 12:2a states, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Look at the verse. We are to look unto Jesus for salvation, our everyday living, and for the blessed hope. We are not commanded to prepare for the anti-christ. There are no instructions in any of the Apostle Paul’s epistles on how to prepare for the worst time in world history.
The post-tribulation rapture uses the following verse to prove their position. Matthew 24:29-31, Jesus states, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
I heard a well-known preacher state that Matthew 24:29-31 will take place before the Bowl Judgments – that this is when the Church is removed, that this is when God pours out His final wrath. First of all, the audience Jesus is talking to is Jews. How do I know this? All the tribes of earth shall mourn. Well, Gentiles do not live in tribes. Jews live in tribes. One of the parallel passages for Matthew 24:29-31 is Zechariah 12:10-11. Zechariah 12:10-11 states,
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.”
Who is the “they” in Zechariah 12:10? Jews from the twelve tribes of Israel. Remember, the tribes were scattered around the Assyrian and Roman empires in 722BC and 70AD, respectively. In Acts 2, there were Jews from many different nations at the temple [likely not upper room: See: Acts 2] on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on 120 Jews.
When will Jesus come in the clouds? At the battle of Armageddon. Revelation 16:16 states, “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” Zechariah 12:11 states, “In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.”
The following verses also prove that the gathering in Matthew 24:31 deals with Israel. Isaiah 27:12-13 states, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” The children of Israel are gathered. The great trumpet shall be blown or sounded. This is a tribulation and Millennium passage.
You have to be a dispensationalist to understand end-time Bible prophecy or the Word as a whole. Second Timothy 2:15 states, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” If you do not divide the scriptures, you will take the Bible out of context. That will create wrong doctrine and wrong living. As stated above, Matthew 24 was not taught to the Church. It was taught to Israel. I Thessalonians 4:13-18, II Thessalonians 2, Revelation 2-3 were taught to the Church.
Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21:7-11, 25-36 all deal with the tribulation. The birth pangs will start the tribulation when Jesus unseals the first seal judgment, which is the White Horse. The White Horse is the anti-christ. He comes in peaceably by making a peace covenant with Israel and many other nations for one week of years (Daniel 9:27). All 70 weeks prophesied by Daniel were for Israel. Here is undeniable proof. Daniel 9:24 states,
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Daniel’s people were and are the Jews, and the holy city is Jerusalem. Only 69 weeks or 483 years (69×7) have been fulfilled.
The outline of Daniel’s 70th week is taught in great detail:
- In Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 (except vs.12-24) and Revelation 6-19. Jeremiah calls it “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Jesus calls it the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8) and the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21).
- The two witnesses will prophesy in Jerusalem for 3 ½ years (Revelation 11:2-3).
- The 144,000 in Revelation 7 & 14 are the Jews from the 12 tribes of Israel who will preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the whole world (Matthew 24:14).
- The battle of Armageddon will be in Israel (Revelation 16:16).
- The anti-christ will declare himself to be God in Israel (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, II Thessalonians 2:4).
- The Jews fleeing in Matthew 24:16 will be from Judea, which is located in southern Israel.
- Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives which is in Jerusalem, Israel (Zechariah 14:4).
- The temple described in Ezekiel 40-49 will be built in Israel. I can go on and on.
Now, let’s look at what was promised to the Church. Revelation 3:10 states, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” The key word is “from” the hour of temptation. It does not say through.
Jesus stated in Luke 21:36, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Jesus stated we can escape “all” the events just described.
Now, when Jesus was done prophesying to the Churches in Asia Minor (Turkey), the Apostle John is taken up in the spirit in Revelation 4:1. Again, you have to divide the Word of God. Jesus states in Revelation 1:19, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” The Book of Revelation is divided into three sections as stated by our Lord. Look at word “hereafter.” When does that word first appear after verse 1:19? Revelation 4:1 states, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
When Jesus said “the things that are,” He was referring to the Churches in Revelation 2 & 3. The “hereafter” is after the Churches. The Laodicean Church is the last Church Jesus judged (in a loving way). It is a “lukewarm” Church. It is the Church that is not enduring sound doctrine but is seeking preachers to tell what they want to hear. They are accepting doctrines of demons such as works salvation, replacement theology, and much more. This Church has put Jesus on the outside. They do not want hear about sin. Jesus commanded them to repent.
But, at the same time, the Philadelphia Church is also on the earth. They are living repentant lives. They are studying the Word. Witnessing to the lost. They are zealous for the things of God. This is the Church Jesus promised to be “kept from” the tribulation. The Apostle John who was taken up in Revelation 4:1, removed from the earth before the first seal judgment (Revelation 6:2).
Now, before the “hereafter” can start, there must be a removal or a gathering of the Church, just as the Holy Spirit could not operate in His fullness until Jesus was removed from the earth. Evil is restrained until the Restrainer is removed, who indwells the Church. The Holy Spirit indwells the Church. The Holy Spirit will not be removed from the earth. No one would be saved. But, hundreds of millions of Christians leaving the earth will cause a shift in the spirit realm. The hedge will be lowered and Satan will know his time is short.
The Holy Spirit illuminated passages from scripture that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that born-again, overcoming Christians will not go through the tribulation. Jesus stated in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Daniel 7:19-22 states, “Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”
Jesus stated the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, but Daniel stated that the anti-christ will prevail against the saints. Contradiction? NO! Jesus is referring to the Church age, and Daniel is referring to the tribulation. If the Church-age saints would be in the tribulation, Satan would prevail against them; but we are not subject to God’s or Satan’s wrath. Only a small remnant of tribulation saints will make it all the way to the end of the tribulation (Zechariah 13:8-9). You have to rightly divide or you will teach wrong doctrine and will damage or destroy the faith of some.
All of Romans 11 deals with Israel. The Apostle Paul wrote under inspiration of the Holy Spirit that when the fullness or full number of the Gentiles be come in, God turns back His focus to national Israel. The “hereafter” deals with Israel and other unrepentant Gentile nations.
Why does God keep on dealing with Israel? He made land and spiritual covenants with Abraham. Romans 11:26-29 states, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
God promised to take away Israel’s sins. Romans 11:28b states, “but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.” Notice the word “fathers” in the verse. It is not referring to the heavenly Father. It is referring to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. God called them 2,000 years before Jesus died on the cross. Roman’s 11:29 states, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” “Without repentance” means irrevocable.
Many of the pre-wrath & post tribulation advocates are denying God’s plan for Israel. Many of these preachers are teaching replacement theology, which is calling God a liar. You have to spiritualize hundreds of scriptures to make this evil doctrine sound legitimate to the laity. Christians are presently buying and storing food and water for the tribulation.
Many preachers and teachers are what I call backfilling scripture. Since we will dwell in the New Jerusalem after the Millennium, some preachers are teaching Jerusalem in the Old Testament is now the New Jerusalem. They also teach Israel in the Old Testament is actually the Church. That is backfilling scripture. That is spiritualizing scripture. It is false doctrine.
The bottom line is I am looking unto Jesus the “finisher” of my faith. If you are Christian, your faith will end at death or at the rapture. When your faith is finished, what will you believe? Do you believe Jesus will keep you from the worst time in world history or will He cast you into the birth pangs and the great tribulation? If you believe the Church will be going through the tribulation, you are taking away your brother and sisters “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) and “comfort” (I Thessalonians 4:18). You are denying God’s plan for Israel. God clearly warns all not to take away from His prophetic word (Revelation 22:19).
May I ask you a question? Are you looking for Jesus or the anti-christ?
Jesus Himself is coming for His Church. Not angels (I Thessalonians 4:16).
What should we do as a Church as we wait for the Lord to call us home? Repent, pray, witness, forgive, study, watch Israel, and look up, for your redemption draws near.
Even so come, Lord Jesus.