10 Reasons to Believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture (Part One)
Reasons 1-5 in a two-part series: Why the Rapture will come before the Tribulation
In case you missed it, I did a podcast episode yesterday (subscribers only) giving my commentary on Dana Coverstone’s prophetic dreams. It’s important as Believers that we process things of this nature with Scriptural understanding. As for the post today, I’m going to give you 10 reasons why I believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “There’s no biblical evidence for a Pre-Tribulational Rapture.” We must not be reading the same Bible! I’m limiting my list to ten arguments, and I could surely articulate more. Some of them you can find in my new book, Tipping Point.
Before we get started, I’d just like to be clear: When I talk about “the Rapture,” I’m using a word that comes from the Latin translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The Latin word we translate into English is rapturo, which says we will be “caught up… to meet the Lord in the air.” In the words of theologian Charles Ryrie, “There can be no doubt that the word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to indicate the actual removal of people from earth to heaven.”
In this post, I will defend from Scripture that this “rapture” precedes Christ’s visible return to the earth by seven years, thus allowing present-day believers to escape the seven-year “great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14) that will rock the earth. My hope is not only to comfort you, but also to equip you for comforting others who aren’t aware of the beauty of the Rapture.
I will refer to the “Pre-Tribulational Rapture” view as PTR. I’ll be sharing the first five reasons in this article and the next five reasons in a forthcoming article, for a total of ten.
1) Only a PTR protects us from God’s wrath.
God’s people are not destined for wrath, but for salvation (1 Thessalonians 1:10). Throughout the Book of Revelation, wrath is reserved for unbelievers. Even though two different Greek words in Revelation are translated into the English word “wrath” (thumos or orge), it is always the case that God’s people are protected from it. (Thumos is used in Revelation 14:8-10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; 18:3; 19:15. Orge is used in Revelation 6:16-17; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15.)
Our understanding is confirmed by God’s promise to the church in Philadelphia, which is ultimately a promise for all of us: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I will also keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).
It’s significant that Jesus doesn’t tell us He will protect us merely “through” the trial, but “from” it altogether! And lest there be any doubt, He says that He will protect us from the “hour” of trial. It’s impossible to argue that God will protect us from the “hour” of trial by making us go through the trial. Of course, He won’t do that—we are not destined for wrath, but for salvation!
2) Only a PTR explains how the world could be experiencing “business as usual” when Christ comes.
Jesus clearly tells us that at the time of the rapture—just as in the days of Noah and Lot—people will be eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting, and building, when unexpectedly, “the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:27-30). In other words, the Rapture takes place before the Tribulation, when everything is still relatively normal. At that, time, “one will be taken (to heaven), and the other left (on earth, for the Great Tribulation),” as described in Luke 17:36.
The world after the Rapture will definitely not be business-as-usual. As I write in Tipping Point, “At the end of the Tribulation, billions will have died, and the earth will be a smoldering ruin after seven years of horrific judgments from God. Nothing close to business-as-usual.”
3) Only PTR makes space for the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.
If you want a more thorough treatment of this subject, please read this recent post. But in condensed form, the Wedding Supper of the Lamb—directly mentioned in Revelation 19:7-9—is promised by Jesus in John 14:1-4, in alignment with Jewish marriage customs:
Just as a Jewish groom would leave his home, travel to his bride’s home, and pay a bride-price (also known as a dowry), Jesus left His heavenly home, came to earth, and paid our bride-price on the Cross.
Just as the covenant was legally ratified by sharing wine, Jesus shared the Last Supper with us.
Just as the groom returned home to prepare a place for his bride, Jesus returned to His heavenly home “to prepare a place for you” (John 14:3).
Just as the groom returned for his bride at an unexpected time, Jesus tells His bride, the Church, to be ready for an unexpected return (Matthew 24:44).
Just as the groom eventually did return to bring the wife home and consummate the marriage—a consummation that lasted for seven days—Jesus will return to consummate His marriage to the Church during the seven years of tribulation.
How amazing is that?! While the world is suffering from God’s wrath, the raptured Church will be resting safely in the arms of Jesus!
4) Only a PTR explains the absence of the Church in the Great Tribulation of Revelation 6-16.
The word church is used nineteen times in the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, and then it’s completely absent. Revelation chapters 4 through 21 describe the Great Tribulation and do not mention the Church at all. Not only that, but in chapter 4, John is caught up into heaven when he hears something like a trumpet (Revelation 4:1-2). Sound familiar?
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout… and with the trumpet of God… [and we] shall be caught up…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The Church is raptured in chapter 4, which perfectly explains its absence on the earth during the Great Tribulation.
Some will argue that the absence of the word church during the Great Tribulation is an argument from silence. But sometimes silence speaks louder than words—for instance, the roaring choruses in heaven became silent “for about a half an hour” at the opening of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1).
God speaks through silence. What I have provided is not an argument from silence. It’s an explanation of it—something that only the PTR offers.
5) Only a PTR makes logical sense.
According to the Post-Tribulational Rapture view, when Jesus returns, we will fly into the clouds to meet Jesus, only to fly back down for the battle of Armageddon. What’s the point of being raptured into the sky, if you’ll only be coming right back down? If that’s the case, then I hope there are lawyers available among the redeemed—because it gives me whiplash just thinking about it!
Reasons 6 through 10 are coming soon…
Stay tuned for another post with the next five reasons I believe the Bible describes a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Subscribe to get full access to this email newsletter and other features so you don’t miss that post! And be sure to check out Tipping Point, my just-released new book on the truth about what the Bible says about the fascinating times we are living in.