This post is what I believe after searching scripture, by no means am I forcing my thoughts on anyone.
After reading messages and articles that disagree with the pre-trib rapture, I've noticed a certain number of arguments that are repeated.
Nowhere in the Bible, can you find the word "rapture"
It amazes me that some question the validity of the rapture, simply because the word "rapture" doesn't appear in the Bible.
With 1 Thes 4:16-18 giving us such a clear description of the rapture, you would have to conclude that some people are just playing games with the Word of God.
Their logic fails because there are a huge number of words that don't appear in the Bible, including the word "Bible." Because God's Word was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, one could truthfully say that no English words are in the Bible. Let's take a look at 1 Thes 4:16-18 in the original Greek:
4:16 oti autos o kurios en keleusmati en fwnh arcaggelou kai en salpiggi qeou katabhsetai ap ouranou kai oi nekroi en cristw anasthsontai prwton 4:17 epeita hmeis oi zwntes oi perileipomenoi ama sun autois arpaghsomeqa en nefelais eis apanthsin tou kuriou eis aera kai outws pantote sun kuriw esomeqa 4:18 wste parakaleite allhlous en tois logois toutois
I don't see the dead in Christ rising, Jesus descending from heaven, and us meeting Him in the air. So the cynics are right: the word "rapture" is nowhere to be found.
For the record, the word "rapture" comes from the Latin word "rapturo," which in turn was a translation of the Greek verb "caught up" found in 1 Thes 4:17. You can call it the pre-trib rapture, the pre-trib rapturo, or the pre-trib caught up--it's all the same thing.
Nowhere in the Bible does it directly say that the Church will be raptured before the tribulation.
Post-trib opponents should have thought this one through because any pre-tribulationist has the same right to say, "Nowhere in the Bible does it directly say the Church will go through the tribulation."
Jesus did say, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44). The only time frame I can think of when we believers would not be expecting Jesus to return would have to be before the tribulation. Also since we cannot know the day or hour because even Jesus doesn’t know, If we know when the tribulation starts we could count the days of the 7 years of tribulation and know when He is coming but we cannot know.
The Day of the Lord.
A number people have attempted to refute the pre-trib rapture by trying to associate the "Day of the Lord" with a catching-up of believers at the end of the tribulation. They base their rapture views solely on the idea that the "Day of the Lord" and the rapture are either synonymous or somehow linked together.
The fault of their argument has to be the notion that the "Day of the Lord" and various other "days" of an end-time context refers to a 24 hour period that occurs at or near the end of the tribulation. Probably the most commonly cited verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:2 where Paul tells us the "Day of the Lord" will come "as a thief in the night."
There are countless articles that describe the "Day of the Lord" as Christ's advent at Armageddon. These articles go on to say that, because Paul also tells us the Lord will come "as a thief," we have a direct link to the same description that is applied to noted rapture verses.
It's rather obvious that those trying to rely on the "Day of the Lord" never bothered to validate the meaning of this particular day. There are a number of commentaries on the "Day of the Lord" and many of them define this as being an all-encompassing period that begins with the Great Tribulation. Let's examine some verses that clearly indicate that the term "day" is used to represent a broader time period.
II Peter 3:10-13
The "Day of the Lord" Peter spoke of in second Peter, cannot be a one day event because it mentions the destruction of the earth by fire and its renovation. Rev 21:11 tells us the earth will not be renewed until after Christ's 1000 year reign this being after the 7 years of tribulation.
The "Day of the Lord" Joel describes includes the defeat of the northern army. Ezk. 38 and 39 is parallel passage. Most scholars would time the destruction of the Gog army as occurring before in the first 3.5 years of the tribulation.
In the book of John, Jesus uses the term "last day" to indicate when the lost would be judged. Rev 20 makes it clear that the unsaved will not be judged until after the millennium, another 1000 year gap.
One of the best indications that most of the various "day" references are citing a general time period can be found in Hebrews 10:25: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Surely, Paul would not be warning us to watch for a day that would be coming at the end of the tribulation. That type of logic would be like warning children, as they cross the road, to watch out for tail lights.
The First Resurrection
Some folks say "There cannot be a pre-trib rapture because to have one would require a second resurrection at Christ's return to earth." This conclusion is drawn from Revelation 20:
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev 20:5-6).
One pre-trib writer, explaining this passage, said, "The first did not mean first in time, but rather first in kind." The first resurrection was for God's people the second will be for the unsaved.
A quick way to shoot down the notion that the first resurrection is tied to a specific date, as opposed to a more general time frame, is to take note of the tribulation rapture of the two witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. At the mid-point of the tribulation, the two witnesses are killed by the Antichrist, resurrected by God, and then caught up into heaven (Rev 11:3-12).
Revelation chapter 7 describes the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists just before the Beast issues his mark. Sometime during the latter half of the tribulation, Revelation chapter 14 indicates they will be "redeemed from the earth," standing before the throne of God.
Confusion over 2 Thes 2:1-6
Because Paul, in 2 Thessalonians, said the Antichrist would be revealed before the Day of the Christ, post and pre-wrath adherents frequently try to cite this passage as one that refutes the pre-trib rapture.
To end the Thessalonian's misunderstanding that they had somehow entered the tribulation, Paul told them the Antichrist must first be revealed. By telling them they had no reason to panic, Paul is clearly disputing the idea that the Thessalonians could someday find themselves facing the tribulation hour.
Post-trib and pre-wrath folks' consistent, or better yet deliberate, failure to accept the simple fact that the pre-trib doctrine calls for a rapture and a second coming. Because they only glean the prophetic word for one event, the second coming, they're unable to recognize pre-trib rapture passages.
When you link the two advents together, you end up with verses that appear to contradict each other: 1 Thessalonians 5:9, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ," and Revelation 13:7, "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." Many people are against the pre-trib rapture simply because they see it as being the dominant view on the timing of Christ's return for the Church. The anti-pre-trib often think they are the last remaining true believers. I'm concerned over why some people choose rebellion against the majority view as their guide for finding truth.
The measurement of popularity alone is a terrible way to determine something's validity. It is particularly strange when people solely rely on the contrary view to judge truth from fiction however, it would be a terrible mistake to make the contrary view the core foundation of any belief.
If you're using reverse logic, you need to support your conclusions. The vast majority of the population would agree that apples grow on apple trees and cherries grow on cheery trees. The pure novelty of the opposite being true does not in any way help make it so. Unless you see farmers gluing apples onto cherry trees or picking cherries from apple trees, you have no basis to think that these two fruits do not grow on anything but the trees that share the same name. Some people are clearly more in love with the idea of a conspiracy than they are the truth.
The idea that the pre-trib rapture is the dominant view is not correct in the first place. Most evangelicals would say they look for a pre-trib rapture, but if you include all Christians, pre-trib would rank behind post-trib.
You would think the desire to go through the tribulation would be as popular as the desire to jump into a pit filled with vipers and broken glass. As illogical as it may seem, there appears to be a large number of Christians that fully expect to get roughed up before Christ returns.
Many Christians argue strongly for the right to suffer persecution at the hands of the Antichrist and the one world government. These tribulation saint wannabees constantly say, "Because Jesus and His disciples suffered persecution, we should expect no better." It's been my experience that people with the weakest faith are generally the ones that talk the boldest. When the slightest difficulty comes their way, they back up.
The word of God clearly states that believers will escape the tribulation bloodbath. "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes 5:9). "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" (Rev 3:10).
In one regard, people who think the Church will go through the tribulation are somewhat correct. I believe a huge number people, who are Christians in name only, will find themselves left behind. By having the rapture before the tribulation, all those who find themselves facing the wrath of God will be without an excuse.
"There is no secret rapture" is the beginning declaration of a large percentage of messages that attack the rapture. Rarely is this statement backed by supporting scriptural evidence. A few people will cite Rev 1:17, "every eye shall see him," as proof that the rapture will not be a secret event. Of course, I would immediately note that "every eye shall see him" is the second coming.
I have a hard time understanding how these folks could think pre-trib preach a secret rapture. We seem to be doing our very best to popularize the rapture before it takes place. I doubt that, afterwards, with all the car wrecks, plane crashes, and missing persons reports, the rapture will remain a secret occurrence.
The only people I know who are attempting to keep the pre-trib rapture a secret are its critics. Pre-wrath and post-trib folks have the national media and the liberal churches as their allies in their ongoing effort to silence all knowledge of the "blessed hope."
Because an imminent or any moment rapture is one of the major teachings of pre-trib opponents of this view attempt to dismantle the imminency of the rapture.
Although Jesus said, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Mat 24:42), advocates for knowing the "day" will claim this only applies to the unsaved. I hear arguments like, "Surely a loving father would tell his own children when he's coming for them."
To try to get around "no man know the hour," a popular scripture often cited is: "But yea brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief" (1 Thes 5:4).
Despite all their ways of misquoting scripture, pre-trib detractors just cannot escape Jesus' restriction against knowing the timing of the rapture. In fact, our Lord was so restrictive about the rapture, He said its occurrence would come as a total surprise. "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44).
Now as far as the second coming goes, the Bible couldn't be plainer. It clearly states that Jesus will return 1260 days from the moment the Antichrist sits in the Temple of God and declares himself to be God. Because there exists both a known and an unknown date, many scholars have logically concluded that there must be two different events occurring, the rapture and the second coming. In 2 Thessalonians the Apostle Paul speaks of a "he" that will restrain the advent of the Antichrist. The restrainer's removal is required before the Antichrist can be revealed.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, "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."
A debate has erupted over the identity of the Restrainer because if this "he" is the Holy Ghost, the only real explanation for his removal would be the rapture of the Church, which is indwelled by him. The strongest argument offered against the Holy Spirit being the Restrainer is the belief that if God's Spirit was ever removed from the earth, no one could then be saved. The removal of the Holy Spirit does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. I believe His being "taken out of the way" will only be a degree of removal.
Before the Church Age, people were able to find salvation, which obviously meant the Holy Spirit was at work on earth. When the outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred at Pentecost, we didn't have a second Holy Spirit come to earth. His removal at the rapture will only be a reversal or ending of the Pentecostal outpouring.