The Rapture and End Time Prophecies For Beginners
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21: 36
Could the Rapture occur at any moment?
If you ask a mid-trib or post-trib believer could the rapture occur soon they will tell you no. But is that what we see from the scriptures.
We see in the gospels that Jesus told us to be watching for his coming. In the Epistles Paul also told us to be watching. These scriptures are referring to his coming for the Church age saints, to the Rapture, not his 2nd coming. They show that the Rapture must occur before the tribulation. For all these scriptures to have any meaning for us now and to all that lived before us since the day of Pentecost they cannot be addressing any time after the start of the tribulation. They have to be addressing a time before the tribulation.
We are told to be watching for Jesus, not any particular events. If the catching up of believers were to occur with his 2nd coming or anytime during the tribulation, there is no need to be waiting and watching for Jesus now. We first would need to see a one world socialist government, the world divided up into 10 regions, (by the way, the UN already has plans to divide the world up into 10 regions now), and a man the Bible calls the anti-Christ to be the head, president of it and he will have to make a peace agreement with Israel and the so called Palestinians for 7 years, dividing up the land of Israel and Jerusalem making two states and make it possible for Israel to rebuild the Temple. Paul in 2 Thes. 2 tells us that the anti-Christ must be revealed first before the beginning of the tribulation. This peace agreement is what starts the 7 years of the tribulation. Dan. 9. We would also need to see a religious leader that in Rev. 13 is called the false prophet that brings all the world’s religions together. We would first need to see the mark of the beast implemented. With the post-trib view we would also need to see the earth devastated and 5 to 6 billion people die or killed. Even with the mid-trib view there would first need to be like 2 billion killed. We are told in Daniel and Revelation all this is going to happen during the tribulation but we are not told all this must happen before Jesus comes for his bride, before the rapture.
The Rapture occurring before the tribulation is the only way waiting and watching would apply to all Christians since Jesus ascended back to the Fathers house. Jn. 14:1-3. We are told now, to be alert, to be waiting and watching for Jesus. The pre-trib rapture calls for watchfulness because "it will be sudden and unknown before-hand."
As we see in 1 Thes. 4:15-17 and John 14:1-3, the Rapture is an event where Jesus does not come down to Earth, but meets His Church in the air and takes us to be with Him where He is, which is heaven. Its specific timing will remain unknown until it actually happens. At the Rapture Jesus comes as a thief. No one left will see him.
MT 24: 36"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
MT. 24:42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
MT 25:13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
MK 13:35 "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: `Watch!' "
LK 12:35 "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
LK 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, (escape all the tribulation) and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." … We’re told here that the standing before Jesus occurs with the escaping. The escaping occurs with the rapture.
On the other hand, The Second Coming is an event where Jesus comes all the way down to Earth with His Church to establish his Kingdom here. Rev. 19. It will not be as a thief because the general time of His coming will be known on Earth over 3 ½ years in advance, everyone on Earth will witness His arrival. Matt. 24:27-30 says it will happen immediately after the Great Tribulation, after the distress of those days and all the nations will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in the sky.
Why would we be told so much to keep watch if it wasn’t so important? This has applied to every Christian since the day of Pentecost. We are to be watching and waiting now. Paul tells us now, to be in a constant expectation of the Rapture.
WATCHING AND WAITING IN THE EPISTLES
1 Corinthians 1:7
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Notice Paul said that the believer's "citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." This verse strongly emphasizes that our focus is upon waiting for Christ now, which would exclude knowing the time of His arrival. For if the time of His coming could be known, as will be the case with his 2nd coming, then we would be waiting for a certain day or hour as would be the case after the anti-Christ is revealed. Instead, eagerly waiting for Jesus now to catch us up to meet him in the air implies that the timing is not known.
1 Thessalonians 1:10
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Titus 2: 13
11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Our Blessed Hope is the imminent return of Jesus—at the rapture. The only way for the rapture to be imminent is for it to occur before the tribulation.
1 Peter 1:13
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Jesus will be revealed to the Church when he catches us up, at the rapture.
1 John 3: 2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thes.4 with the Rapture we are changed from mortals to immortals. Our bodies will be changed from perishable to imperishable glorified bodies. Those that have already died in Jesus will receive imperishable glorified bodies.
Our focus should be on Jesus and His coming for his Church. (While we can see things lining up in the world as the Bible has predicted we still cannot predict just when the Rapture will occur).
With the mid-trib view could the rapture happen at an unknown time at any moment? NO. With the post-trib view could the rapture happen at an unknown time at any moment? NO. For the mid-trib rapture could be calculated from the signing of the peace agreement by the anti-Christ, Israel and the Islamic nations. The post-trib view could be calculated from this also, but also from when the abomination of desolation occurs. Dan.9, Mt. 24, 2 Thes.2. The pre-trib view is the only one that works with the scriptures that the Rapture could occur at any time, at an unknown time, making it imminent.
We are told to keep watch. To be alert. Not to be standing looking up in the sky like they were when he ascended back to the Father, but to be aware of the season. To live like he could actually return in our life time while still working to fulfill the great commission. There is so much falling into place today with Bible prophecy that he just could actually return in our life time. We don’t know, so we are to be alert. Sadly, there are so many in the Church that aren't thinking anything about it. They will be caught sleeping.
Paul gave us promises about the Rapture. In 1 Thes. 4 16 & 17 after telling us about the rapture Paul with verse 18 says to encourage one another with these words. With Titus 2 verse 13 Paul describes the rapture as our blessed hope. If you step back and think about it, the only way for the rapture to be a blessing and hope and to be encouraging is for it to occur before all the death and destruction of the tribulation. We are promised in 1 Thes. 10, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. … For if you're here during the tribulation, as we see from Isaiah 24 and Revelation, the odds are, you won't survive to the end.
Now more than ever we need to be encouraging each other of the hope we have. As followers of Christ we don’t have to be fearful of what is coming on the world, for we have a hope. We are also to share this hope with those around us. We are to warn those around us of the coming Tribulation in the hope that they will come to believe and turn to Jesus. If not now, hopefully if they are still alive after the Rapture they will remember the things they have been told and realize that it all was true and that Jesus is indeed who the Bible says he is.
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.
Rev. 22: 12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.