4.12 Jesus Christ will come as foretold and promised “like a thief in the night” before the Tribulation to catch away His church in a literal physical event called the Rapture, catching away the dead in Christ first, then we who are alive will follow. We will meet in the clouds for the Judgment of the believer and the giving of rewards, then will ascend to Heaven to await the end of the Tribulation (Luke 21:28, Col. 3:4, Matt. 24:37, Mark 13:27, 32, 1 Cor. 15:51-52, 1 Thess. 4:15-17, Titus 2:13, Rev. 16:15).
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:28 (KJV)
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4 (KJV)
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Matthew 24:37 (KJV)
27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Mark 13:27 (KJV)
32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Mark 13:32 (KJV)
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (KJV)
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 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: 17 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. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (KJV)
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13 (KJV)
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. Revelation 16:15 (KJV)
There’s a lot to be said on the subject of the Rapture. In many ways the Rapture is often the litmus test for determining how far off base in correct doctrine you are.
There’s all kinds of objections to a pretribulation rapture, none of which really hold water. The most common is that Christians today face death, tribulation and imprisonment. Why should those in the great tribulation be any different?
That’s losing sight of what the Tribulation is. The Tribulation is the outpouring of God’s wrath, not the hatred and afflictions of the world against Christians.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Revelation 6:15-17 (KJV)
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (KJV)
We are not appointed to wrath. Rather, the last time God’s judgment and wrath descended on the world, Noah and his family were kept from the flood. In this case, we will be bodily removed from the earth, and taken to heaven to wait out the tribulation, when we will return at the end of it with the Lord.
1 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. Revelation 4:1 (KJV)
The door opens, and we are taken up to heaven. For the next 15 chapters, John describes everything as he sees it from heaven. Amazingly, John MacArthur insists Rev. 4:1 is not referring to the rapture, even though he insists rightly the rapture happens before the tribulation!
I’m not trying to be rude, but really… it happens right before the tribulation, he is commanded to rise and come up hither, and then… the tribulation starts right away. I’m sorry, but Macarthur is wrong. There, I tried to say it nicely!
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; Revelation 19:11-17 (KJV)
notice, again a door opens – this time for the return of the Lord, in time for Armegeddon. On the way, John describes an Angel standing in the sun! So, the two door openings (these are the only ones in Revelation) show us the Rapture, and the Second Coming.
There is also the facts that the churches are mentioned many times in Reveleation 1-3, then… stop. It’s as if the church has ceased to be on the earth. The saved are in heaven, but now thanks to the Two Witnesses (Moses and Elijah) and the 144,000, there is also a great multitude of believers on earth. Many are martyred almost immediately, but many more survive through the tribulation.
Additionally, we must look at the differences between the Rapture, and the second coming. The Rapture He comes for His saints, the Second Coming He comes with His saints. Just before the Rapture, we are on the earth. just before the seocnd coming, we are in heaven with Him.
If you are uncertain whether or not you will be in the Rapture, this is the time to get it right. We don’t know when we’re going to be caught into heaven. Repent, and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.