We continue this study proving that the Church must be raptured away before the Tribulation comes. Christians are not appointed to wrath, which is what the Tribulation is. The wrath of God is against sin in the horrific judgments of the Tribulation, and believers of the Church age are rescued from that. We are not appointed to wrath. We are not children of darkness, the darkness of sin in the Tribulation.
. THE EIGHTH SCRIPTURAL REFERENCE – BOTH COMINGS IN ONE VERSE
The verse in the spotlight here is this one – Titus 2:13 “looking for THE BLESSED HOPE and the APPEARING OF THE GLORY OF OUR GREAT GOD AND SAVIOUR, Christ Jesus.”
This verse is not saying the same thing twice. It is saying two separate things. Both future comings are found here. The first is the “blessed hope” or “glorious hope” in the AV. That is the Rapture, and it is blessed and glorious, for Christ comes to claim His Bride from the earth – all ages of history down through the years. It will be such a blessed time when raptured into His presence.
The second part of this verse connects with the appearing of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. That appearing is His glorious manifestation in the Second Coming. We, the Church, leave heaven with our Bridegroom, having celebrated the marriage supper of the Lamb for the return to earth at the Second Coming.
The Lord comes for the Battle of Armageddon and then steps on the Mount of Olives with His Church, the Bride. Those two comings, one for the Church, and one at the end of the Tribulation, are separated by 7 years. That is the length of the Tribulation on earth. The Church is in heaven for those 7 years.
THE CHURCH DOES NOT, AND CAN NOT, ENTER THE TRIBULATION.
. THE NINTH SCRIPTURAL REFERENCE – DELIVERANCE FROM THE TRIBULATION
This is a very precious promise for all believers, but let us look at it – Revelation 3:10-11 “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I ALSO WILL KEEP YOU FROM THE HOUR OF TESTING, THAT HOUR WHICH IS ABOUT TO COME UPON THE WHOLE WORLD, to test those who dwell upon the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold fast what you have, in order that no one takes your crown.”
This is the message to the church at Philadelphia. In the book of Revelation, the Tribulation occupies the majority of the focus as it rages on the earth. The message here is that those who keep trusting the Lord will not enter the Tribulation. In other words, the true believers will have no part of that testing or trial coming upon the WHOLE world.
The AV uses the wording “the hour of trial,” and that will be trial in tribulation. That section of chapter 3 is clearly telling us that the ones who faithfully belong to the Lord will be delivered FROM the Tribulation. It DOES NOT mean “delivered through the Tribulation.” It means “OUT OF,” “AWAY FROM IT,” or “RIGHT OUT OF IT.” The Greek word is “ek,” meaning “out, or out of,” having no part in it.
The Lord is coming quickly. It won’t be long now. When the Rapture happens, it will be so quick, the Greek being “inatoma” (átomos), a particle of time that cannot be split. Less than a split second.
There is a very wrong concept around that some hold on to. It is called “a partial Rapture,” where those said to be faithful to the Lord are raptured, but rather slack or worldly Christians are left behind to go into the Tribulation. It is false. Don’t listen to that. It is also elitist and judgmental.
. THE HEAVENLY PREPARATION OF THE BRIDE IN HEAVEN
Recently, I wrote about the Church, the Bride of Christ. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is recorded in Revelation 19:7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” The Bride will not come to the wedding without absolute spotless purity typified by white linen – Revelation 19:8 “and it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
The Church MUST BE in heaven for the Marriage preceded by cleansing and the giving of rewards. If the Church was on earth in the Tribulation, that could not happen.
Before the Marriage happens, the Church needs full purification. In other words, when you enter heaven, the Lord has to deal with unconfessed sin and other issues, and then the Church is rewarded with such passages as this – 1Corinthians 3:12-13 “Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident, for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.”
All that preparation must take place in heaven before the Second Coming, and the first verse in the chapter (Revelation 19) for the Second Coming is this one – Revelation 19:11 “I saw heaven opened and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” The Church as the Bride returns to earth with her Bridegroom immediately after the Marriage Supper, absent from the earth for at least 7 years (we are speaking about the entire Church). The Church has no part in the Tribulation.
. WHICH GOSPEL IS BEING PREACHED NOW AND IN THE TRIBULATION?
This next evidence is very clear in scripture, but some find it obscure, and others ridicule it. Those who have a good understanding of eschatology realize the truth of it.
The gospel that is being preached in the world today is not the gospel that will be preached in the Tribulation. I hope that does not come as a shock to you, but we will go through it.
THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
Matthew is the only evangelist who covers the Gospel of the Kingdom. Matthew is the Jewish gospel, and it contains things that are not covered in deeper detail in other Gospels. Matthew gives the full account of conditions in the Kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount. He gives the fullest account of the parables relating to the Gospel of the Kingdom in Chapter 13. He has the fullest account of the Tribulation in Chapter 24.
Chapter 24 is most significant because it is answering a question – Matthew 24:3 “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of THE END OF THE AGE?'” The end of the age is the end of the Tribulation, which is the Second Coming. Note that John does not mention anything from the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, which is for the Jews) in his Gospel, and he wrote in AD 96 after the destruction of Jerusalem, well into the Christian era.
Let us hold Matthew 24 there for a moment and look at what John the Baptist preached right at and just before the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew 3:1-3 “Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea saying, ‘REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.'” This is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make ready the way of the Lord. Make His paths straight!'” Matthew 3:6 “and THEY WERE BEING BAPTISED by him in the Jordan River AS THEY CONFESSED THEIR SINS.”
John the Baptist was preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is a different gospel from the Gospel of grace of the Church age, because Jesus had not yet died, and that is the basis of the Christian gospel. What John taught was Repentance followed by Confession of sins in baptism (immersion). That gained entrance into Messiah’s Kingdom, for it was at hand. Messiah was to set up His Kingdom on earth described in the Old Testament. Those who repented and confessed their sins in baptism were waiting for Messiah to come to install His Kingdom. John knew it was the Lord, and incidentally, down the track just a little bit, when the expected Kingdom had not been set up, John sent a message from prison:
Matthew 11:1-4 “It came about that when Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John in prison heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples, and said to Him, ‘ARE YOU THE EXPECTED ONE, OR SHALL WE LOOK FOR SOMEONE ELSE?’ and Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see.”
When Jesus began His ministry, what did He preach? Well, as King of the Jews and Messiah, He preached the gospel of His Kingdom – Matthew 4:23 “Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”
It was the same gospel that John the Baptist preached. IF THE NATION REPENTED THEN, THE KINGDOM WOULD HAVE BEEN SET UP. It did not repent, and as a result, the gospel went to the Gentiles. A short time passed, and we see Jesus preaching the same Gospel – Matthew 9:35 “Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
Then, a dramatic change happened. Matthew records Jesus and the disciples in the grain field – Matthew 12:1-4 “At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grain fields and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat, but when the Pharisees saw it they said to Him, ‘Behold, Your disciples do what is NOT LAWFUL TO DO on a Sabbath,’ but He said to them, “HAVE YOU NOT READ WHAT DAVID DID WHEN HE BECAME HUNGRY, he and his companions – how he entered the house of God and they ate the consecrated bread which was NOT LAWFUL FOR HIM to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?”
This is a watershed moment. What is Jesus doing? Well, He broke the Law of Moses. Was He guilty? No, He was not. What did the reference to David mean? David was the rightful king in rejection at that time. The nation had rejected him at that point. Therefore, the sacred bread was of no consequence because the nation had set aside the Law of Moses.
Now, look at Jesus, who made reference to David. Jesus was the rightful King in rejection by His nation.
At that stage they were not repenting, not responding to the gospel of the kingdom. The Law had been set aside nationally, so what Jesus did was not unlawful. His statement here, where he apparently disregarded the Law, was the testimony that He had been set aside by the faithless leadership. From that time onward, Jesus did not preach the Gospel of the Kingdom anymore, but then the cross lay ahead of Him, and He revealed that to His disciples:
Matthew 16:21-22 “FROM THAT TIME Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and SUFFER MANY THINGS from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and BE KILLED, AND BE RAISED UP ON THE THIRD DAY, and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.'”
Well, the Gospel of the kingdom was not preached and was set aside, BUT one day, it will be preached again after the Church has been removed. The church’s mission is to teach and preach the Gospel of grace during the time of Israel’s darkness, but once the Church is raptured to heaven, then the Gospel of the kingdom is preached again. Here is the reference (speaking down through the future to the Jewish Tribulation people):
Matthew 24:9-14 “Then they will deliver you to TRIBULATION and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. At that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM SHALL BE PREACHED IN THE WHOLE WORLD for a witness to all the nations, and then THE END shall come” (answering the disciples’ question about when the age would end).
In the Tribulation, the preaching will be very similar to what Jesus and John preached – repentance and confession, and I also believe it will have baptism while confessing sins, just like what John and Jesus in His early ministry preached. It is the gospel of the coming Kingdom to be set up by Messiah at the Second Coming.
If the Church was in the Tribulation, it would continue preaching the gospel of grace, which is preached today and has been its gospel for 2000 years. That gospel is not preached in the Tribulation, but the gospel of the kingdom is. That proves the Church is not in the Tribulation.
. THE SHOUT IS BEFORE THE PROCLAMATION OF PEACE AND SAFETY
Number 14 is a quotation taken from a posting on Bible Truth Publishers by Bruce Anstey titled, “The Church Will Not Go Through the Tribulation.”
The “shout” referenced above is the shout in the Rapture. Peace and safety explained.
The apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Thessalonians, clearly puts the Rapture (1Thessalonians 4:15-18) as happening before the time of Tribulation, when “peace and safety” will be promised by the Beast and the Antichrist, through the false protection of the newly revived Roman empire (1Thessalonians 5:1-3).
Furthermore, a closer look at the passage will show that those “caught up” at the Rapture (in chapter 4) are addressed as a different class of persons than those who are promised “peace and safety” in the Tribulation (in chapter 5). This is indicated by the change from the first-person plural to the third-person plural. The words change from “we” and “us” when referring to those caught up in the rapture to “they” and “them” when referring to those who will be promised false peace and safety in the Tribulation. This change is not by accident; the Spirit of God is indicating two different classes of persons. The raptured saints – the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18), and those who will be living in the time of Tribulation.
Paul, being a Christian, put himself among those who might be on earth when the Lord comes (the Rapture), saying “we.” But it is significant that he did not refer to himself among those who would be on earth during the time when “peace and safety” will be promised by the Beast. This, of course, is because he sought to set the hope of the Lord’s coming before the saints as an imminent thing, which is the Christian’s proper hope.
The Lord is wonderful who saved us. The Lord is wonderful who keeps us. He has completed all necessary for our salvation and will never bring us into divine justice and divine wrath, which is what the Tribulation is all about. God judges a blasphemous, unrepentant world whose sins have accumulated to the point of overflowing. That judgment falls in the Tribulation as the wrath of God is displayed openly.
A believer can never be counted with the blasphemous world or with an unrepentant world, and for that reason, the wrath of God in divine judgment can have no part for the Christian. Christ settled all that for us on the cross. We are delivered from – (OUT OF) THE VERY HEART OF IT – the wrath of God. Like Lot, we are brought out of it (in the Rapture); and like Noah, we are lifted up OUT OF it, so we have no part in it.
Any position other than the Rapture before the Tribulation begins is of Satan’s deception because he wants to destroy the composure, joy, comfort and certainty of believers.
I hope these three articles were of help in clarifying the truth of the Rapture preceding the Tribulation.