Pro and Con 1035

Posted 9-1-02

Incoming email, Re: FWD: Secret Rapture?

This was written many years ago yet it is still relevant today.
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Why did the Lord Jesus conceal the Secret Rapture in Matthew twenty-four? How are we to explain the silence of the Church for centuries concerning it? What about the passages that have been used to support it? Have we been lulling the Church into a false security? Are there any outstanding Christian leaders who believe that the Church will go through the Great Tribulation?

In my first book on Prophecy I asked the questions: "Will the Church pass through the Tribulation or be raptured out of it?" In answering I made this statement: "I have always held the view that the Rapture precedes the Revelation by some seven years, and that the Church, therefore, will not go through the Tribulation, but I do not want to be dogmatic about it and, if God should reveal the contrary to me, I will gladly accept it". Hence, you see, I did not approach the subject with my mind closed to new light and my heart already prejudiced. I was open to whatever God might reveal.

Now, after years of study and prayer, I am absolutely convinced that there will be no rapture before the Tribulation, but that the Church will undoubtedly be called upon to face the Antichrist, and that Christ will come at the close and not at the beginning of that awful period. I believed the other theory simply because I was taught it by W. E. Blackstone in his book "Jesus is Coming," the Scofield Reference Bible and Prophetic Conferences and Bible Schools; but when I began to search the Scriptures for myself I discovered that there is not a single verse in the Bible that upholds the pre-tribulation theory, but that the uniform teaching of the Word of God is of a post-tribulation Rapture: pre-millennial always. everywhere pre-millennial, but post-tribulation....

My first awakening to this important truth came one day in 1925, when I was spending a few days in a cottage at Stoney Lake, Ontario. One of my neighbors, Frank Edmonds by name, simply made the suggestion to me. I opposed it at once. "Why," I exclaimed, "however could that be? What about the Scriptures? The teaching of a pre-tribulation Rapture is clear and indisputable." But he quietly affirmed that I was wrong and emphasized the truth concerning the Last Trump. Of course, I was not convinced. I almost ridiculed the very idea of such a possibility. And there the matter rested....

I need not point out that there is no pretribulation Rapture in Matthew 24. The Second Coming is unmistakably placed "immediately after the Tribulation" (verse 29), and I was forced to the conclusion that if the Rapture was to be ‘before" the Tribulation, the Lord Jesus Christ would certainly have given some hint of it at least. He was dealing with the End-Time of the Age. It is unthinkable that He would have spoken so minutely of the Tribulation without stating that the Church would escape. Instead, He purposely led His hearers to the belief that His followers would be in it. Hence, I was staggered, nor could I honestly defend my previous position.

So, when I again faced the people, I said sufficient to let them know that I questioned my former stand and saw evidence of a post-tribulation Rapture. For, as I read Matthew 24 and 25, I saw that many things, as prophesied by the Lord Jesus Christ, simply had to take place before Jesus could come, namely: "All these things" (verse 33), especially the prediction regarding the preaching of the Gospel. See Mark 13:10, and note the significance of the word "first". Thus, since God’s future program could not be set aside, there could be no "any moment expectation" of Christ’s Return. We are to watch, watch as prophecy after prophecy is fulfilled, ever looking forward to His Appearing; and, in the End-Time, to watch as never before, and to always be ready, for none can ever know how quickly the events predicted might come to pass and Christ return.

My "Any Moment" Theory
Then followed the next step. There came into my hands a copy of a book by Dr. Henry W. Frost, then the Home Director of the China Inland Mission. It was entitled "Matthew 24 and the Revelation," a volume of over 300 pages. I fairly devoured it. Portions of it I read through twice. It was most conclusive in its arguments for a post-tribulation Rapture. About the same time I got hold of a book by James H. McConkey, called "The Book of Revelation," and another—perhaps the best of all—by Edmund Shackleton (England), entitled "Will the Church Escape the Great Tribulation?" Before I had read them through I was firmly convinced that there would be no Rapture before the Tribulation, and that I had done wrong in promising the Church an escape instead of preparing her for the terrible ordeal that must most surely be awaited. My "any moment" theory could not be sustained. In fact, the very first statement in the latter book, which was written about 1890, amazed me beyond measure and I was fairly staggered as I grasped its significance. Let me quote it verbatim:

All who held the pre-millennial Coming of Christ were, till about sixty years ago, of one mind on the subject. About that time a new view was promulgated that the Coming of Christ was not one event, but that it was divided into stages, in fact, that Christ comes twice from heaven to earth, but the first time only as far as the air. This first descent, it is said, will be for the purpose of removing the Church from the world, and will occur before the Great Tribulation under Antichrist. This they call "The coming for His saints" or "Secret Rapture." The second part of the Coming is said to take place when Christ appears in glory and destroys the Antichrist. This they call "The coming with His saints."

Apart from the test of the Word, which is the only final one, there are certain reasons why this doctrine should be viewed with suspicion. It appears to be little more than sixty years old; and it seems highly improbable that. if scriptural it could have escaped the scrutiny of the many devoted Bible students whose writings have been preserved to us from the past. More especially in the writings of the early Christian fathers would we expect to find some notice of this doctrine, if it had been taught by the Apostles; but those who have their works declare that they betray no knowledge of a theory that the Church would escape the Tribulation under Antichrist, or that there would be any "coming" except that spoken of in Matthew 24, as occurring in manifest glory "after the Tribulation." This is all the more significant, because these writers bestowed much attention upon the subject of the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. Augustine, referring to Daniel 7, wrote: "But he who reads this passage even half asleep cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church."

Then when I remembered that the death of Peter, his prediction of corruption and apostasy after his decease, the death of Paul, and many other events had to occur before the Rapture—especially the evangelization of the world (Mark 13:10 and Matt. 24:14)—my "any moment" theory took wings and fled.

Last of all, I ran across "The Great Tribulation—The Church’s Supreme Test" by John B. Scruby, the most convincing; the most unanswerable of all. It deals with every point minutely and proves conclusively that the Tribulation precedes the Rapture.

Recently I got hold of that remarkable book "Tribulation to Glory" by H. A. Baker. in which he wrote: "For eighteen centuries the fundamental principle of tribulation to glory was the universal belief of the truly born-again members of the Church", and then he goes on to show that the new pre-tribulation rapture teaching was first proclaimed as a direct revelation by a woman in Edward Irving’s church, and then taken up by John Nelson Darby (and the Scofield Reference Bible) in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Church for eighteen hundred years.

"Beginning with the Irvingite woman, then propagated by John N. Darby about 1830, this new ‘spirit-inspired’ doctrine during the last century has come down to us until it has become popular. George Muller opposed it; so did Benjamin Wills Newton; so did Dr. S. P. Tregelles and other Brethren, but all in vain." But now, thank God, large numbers of our leading Bible Teachers are coming back to the original position.

God’s Word
I discovered that no time element is ever mentioned so far as the Rapture is concerned, except as it is related to the Resurrection. And that the Resurrection is always placed at the time of the sounding of the Last Trump (1 Cor. 15:51-54). This Trump, without doubt, closes the Tribulation. There is no eighth. The saints are rewarded (Rev. 11:18). The "mystery of God", is then finished, there is time (delay) no longer (Rev. 10:6 and 7), and the Resurrection, of course, immediately precedes the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:16).

Naturally, I thought of 2 Thessalonians 2:7: "he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way". But then I learned from the Greek that the second "he" is the Antichrist, and that the Greek does not say "taken out of the way," but "revealed in the midst," or, "born out of the midst." In other words, lawlessness will be restrained until the appointed time for the lawless one, the Antichrist, to appear. There is no mention of the Holy Spirit at all. That is a Scofield Bible assumption. The Holy Spirit and the Church remain to the end of the Age.

Then, too. I thought of Luke 21:36 and of Revelation 3:10. But Noah, I remembered, "escaped" by preservation. Daniel "was kept" and protected in the lion’s den. The three Hebrew children were "kept" though in a burning fiery furnace. None of them were taken out. Rather they were kept, preserved, protected while in, and thus they escaped. Why not the Church? Note that 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 finds the saints in trouble, in tribulation, and resting only at the close. In fact the first two chapters of 2 Thessalonians cannot be interpreted in any other way. Chapter two, verse one, is most explicit. "Now we beseech you, brethren", writes Paul, "by the coming (Revelation) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together (the Rapture) unto Him". There is here no separation between the Rapture and the Revelation. The Coming is the one and only Coming spoken of throughout the two chapters, the Coming described in chapter one, verses seven and eight.

I learned, too, that the word for "meet" in 1 Thessalonians 4: was only used in two other places, and, in both cases, it meant "returning with" and not "remaining at" the place of meeting. When the brethren from Rome met Paul, they immediately returned to the city with him. When the Virgins met the Bridegroom they accompanied Him back to the wedding. When the saints meet Christ in the Air, as He comes to judge the nations and establish His Kingdom on earth, they will return with Him. There is no Scripture that says they will remain for some seven years in the Air.

In 1 Thessalonians each chapter closes with a reference to the Second Coming, but no distinction is made. As Christ descends with His angels after the Tribulation, the saints ascend, and, meeting Him in the Air, turn and continue with Him back to the earth. How long He remains in the Air, following the meeting with the Church is nowhere revealed. "The Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints" (1 Thess. 3:13), is unquestionably the Revelation, after the Tribulation, simply because the words, "with all His saints" are added. But why infer another, a previous Coming, in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and 1:10, or 5:23? It is all one and the same. There is no Secret Rapture. That theory must be deliberately read into the passage. There is no Rapture in Revelation until chapter nineteen is reached. I had been taught that the Greek word "parousia" always referred to the Rapture and that other words were used for the Coming of Christ in glory after the Tribulation. But I found that this is not true. Parousia is used for the latter, too. See 2 Thessalonians 2:1.

While it is clear that the Church must endure the wrath of the Antichrist, it is certain that the Church will not have to endure the wrath of God. When His judgments are poured out on the Antichrist and his followers, the Church will be divinely protected by God even as the Israelites were protected when His wrath was poured upon the Egyptians—not by being raptured, but by being kept.

We might go through all the writers of the New Testament, and we would fail to discover any indication of the so-called "two-stages" of our Lord’s Coming. Peter, James and John tell the same story. There is no Scripture for a pre-tribulation rapture. That theory had to be invented by man. Search and see. There is no verse in the Bible that even mentions it.

I discovered that nearly all evangelical missionary leaders believe that there must be representatives in the Church of Christ from every tribe, kindred, tongue and nation, and not just from the so-called civilized world, and that, therefore, the only way to hasten the Coming of Christ is by evangelizing the remaining unreached peoples of earth. Jesus made it perfectly clear when He said, "the gospel must first be published among all nations" (Mark 13:10) "and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14). Hence, the greatest incentive to missionary work is the Second Coming of Christ.

Spiritual Preparedness
I am sure that with the true child of God it is not a question of preference but of truth. Does God’s Word say so? Why then rebel? Is not His plan best? Besides, what difference does it make so long as we are ready? "Spiritual Preparedness" is the only important factor after all.

I wonder if we have been lulling the Church into a false security? Can it be that we have been preaching an easy escape? Ought we to prepare the Church for the greatest of all ordeals? Should not our teaching harden her for the fires of the Tribulation?

What kind of soldiers are we training? I am afraid that we have been very guilty and that God will certainly hold us responsible for the type of Christian our preaching is producing. We need men and women today of the martyr spirit. The test of the Inquisition is coming again and woe betide the pre-millennialists who are not ready. The Church must be purified in the fires of persecution....

My Final Appeal
Beloved, the shadows are darkening. The day is drawing to a close. It is now Saturday night in the history of the Church. The times of the Gentiles have almost run their course. Events are fast shaping for the end. The Antichrist will soon be here.

One fact and one only is important—Christ is coming. Of that there can be no doubt. One question and one only is vital—Are we ready?

We may differ on minor details of prophecy. We may disagree as to the time of His Appearing. We may not see eye to eye regarding the order of prophetic events. But one thing is certain—He is coming. We will be with Him. The Millennium is at hand and soon now we shall know all. Therefore, let us love one another sincerely and labour together "till He Come"....

My reply

> > Why did the Lord Jesus conceal the Secret Rapture in Matthew twenty-four?

I assume that the writer meant Mt. 24:37-50, because the gathering in 24:31 is not from Earth. Those previously caught up in the Pre-Trib Rapture are gathered to the general assembly in Heaven (Heb. 12:23). However, Mark 13:27 shows that at the same time that those caught up in the first Rapture will be gathered to the general assembly in Heaven, the Pre-Wrath Rapture will take place. That verse says they are gathered from both Heaven and Earth.

Mark 13:27 says, "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."

The Pre-Trib Rapture is not secret. Psa. 40:1-3 says, " I waited patiently for the LORD (as in Rev. 3:10); and he inclined (bent down) unto me, and heard my cry. HE BROUGHT ME UP also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay (as Jeremiah was raised up out of the miry pit), and set my feet upon a rock (the planet Heaven), and established my goings. And he hath put a new song (sung after the Pre-Trib Rapture in Rev. 5:9) in my mouth, even praise unto our God: MANY SHALL SEE IT (the Pre-Trib Rapture), and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."

> > How are we to explain the silence of the Church for centuries concerning it?

The writer seems to be listening to the Preterists. The Rapture was known much much earlier than they teach.

Here is what Ephraem of Nisibis (c. 373), well-known in Syrian church history, wrote in his approx. 1500 word sermon, "On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World:

"ALL THE SAINTS AND ELECT OF GOD ARE GATHERED TOGETHER BEFORE THE TRIBULATION, WHICH IS TO COME, AND ARE TAKEN TO THE LORD, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.

"Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and PREPARE OURSELVES FOR THE MEETING OF THE LORD CHRIST, SO THAT HE MAY DRAW US FROM THE CONFUSION, WHICH OVERWHELMS ALL THE WORLD? Believe you me, dearest brother, because the coming (advent) of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time. Or do you not believe unless you see with your eyes? See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: 'Woe to those who desire to see the day of the Lord?' FOR ALL THE SAINTS AND ELECT OF GOD ARE GATHERED, PRIOR TO THE TRIBULATION THAT IS TO COME, AND ARE TAKEN TO THE LORD LEST THEY SEE THE CONFUSION THAT IS TO OVERWHELM THE WORLD BECAUSE OF OUR SINS.

"And there will be a great tribulation, as there has not been since people began to be on earth...and no one is able to sell or buy of the grain of the harvest, unless he is the one who has the serpentine sign on the forehead or the hand. And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets, in the hour which the world does not know and on the day which the enemy or the son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty, with the sign of salvation going before him, and also even with all the powers of the heavens with the whole chorus of the saints". (Alexander, Paul J. "The Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition [Berkeley: Univ. of CA Press, 1985] p. 210).

> > I need not point out that there is no pretribulation Rapture in Matthew 24. The Second Coming is unmistakably placed "immediately after the Tribulation" (verse 29), and I was forced to the conclusion that if the Rapture was to be ‘before" the Tribulation, the Lord Jesus Christ would certainly have given some hint of it at least

There are two Raptures, one at the first "trump of God" (I Thess. 4:16), the other at the "last trump" of God (I Cor. 15:51,52). The Pre-Trib Rapture will be as the days of Noah (Mt. 24:37-41). Water, a symbol of the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9) came down. The Pre-Wrath Rapture is as the days of Lot (Luke 17:28-37). Fire fell that same day.

At the time of the first Rapture, the foolish virgin servants will be cut off. Luke 12:46 explains, "The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder (lit., cut him off), and will appoint him his portion (the shortened Tribulation of Mt. 24:21,22) with the unbelievers." Mt. 24:51 adds, "And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion (the shortened Tribulation) with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Where else do we hear that "there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth"? In Mt. 22:11-14, at the wedding dinner, when "the king came in to see the guests, he saw there A MAN WHICH HAD NOT ON A WEDDING GARMENT (white robe of righteousness. i.e., he is not one of the Bride of Christ group at the first Rapture): And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and TAKE HIM AWAY, AND CAST HIM INTO OUTER DARKNESS (outside the "open door" of the Pre-Trib Rapture, Rev. 3:8); THERE SHALL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH."

Mat 5:13 says, "Ye (believers) are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but TO BE CAST OUT, and to be trodden under foot of men."

1Co 9:24-27, Paul said, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we (believers) an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I (Paul) have preached to others, I myself should be a CASTAWAY" (i.e., be cast out at the first Rapture, but be taken up in the second Rapture).

In the parable of the 10 virgins in Mt. 25, only the 5 wise virgins are taken up when the Bridegroom (Christ) comes at the Pre-Trib Rapture. The 5 foolish virgins are LEFT BEHIND to get more oil of the Holy Spirit. They will be caught up at the Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Tribulation saints.

> > I discovered that no time element is ever mentioned so far as the Rapture is concerned, except as it is related to the Resurrection. And that the Resurrection is always placed at the time of the sounding of the Last Trump (1 Cor. 15:51-54). This Trump, without doubt, closes the Tribulation. There is no eighth.

All 7th trumpet judgments sounded by angels will sound for unbelievers, not believers. If they did sound for believers, they would go through the wrath of God. 1Th 5:9 says, "For God hath NOT APPOINTED US TO WRATH, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."

There are only 2 trumps of God. The first is at the Pre-Trib Rapture (I Thess. 4:13-18). The "last trump" of God is at the Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Tribulation saints. The 2 silver trumpets Moses was told to make prefigure the two Raptures.

Nu. 10:1-4 says, "the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. And when they shall blow with them (both, i.e., at the time of the last Rapture), all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee." The princes of Israel are the elders of Rev. 5. They are the 12 patriarchs of Israel and the 12 apostles of Israel.

> > I thought of Luke 21:36 and of Revelation 3:10. But Noah, I remembered, "escaped" by preservation. Daniel "was kept" and protected in the lion’s den. The three Hebrew children were "kept" though in a burning fiery furnace. None of them were taken out. Rather they were kept, preserved, protected while in, and thus they escaped. Why not the Church?

The Pre-Trib Rapture is as the days of Noah (Mt. 24:37; Lu. 17:26,27). The Pre-Wrath Rapture is as the days of Lot (Luke 17:28-37). Noah was floated up to the heavens by water, the symbol of the Spirit of Christ. Rom 8:9 says to believers, "ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Both Noah and Lot were taken away from death.

All in the Ark were married. They were floated up as the Bride of Christ will be in the first Rapture. Lot was told to go to the mountain, which can be a symbol of Heaven. The angels brought him out just before an asteroid destroyed Sodom and the cities of the plain. That is what will happen to the Tribulation saints. They will be caught up in the second Rapture just before the asteroids of Rev. 8:8,10 impact Earth.

> > Note that 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 finds the saints in trouble, in tribulation, and resting only at the close. In fact the first two chapters of 2 Thessalonians cannot be interpreted in any other way. Chapter two, verse one, is most explicit. "Now we beseech you, brethren", writes Paul, "by the coming (Revelation) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together (the Rapture) unto Him". There is here no separation between the Rapture and the Revelation. The Coming is the one and only Coming spoken of throughout the two chapters, the Coming described in chapter one, verses seven and eight.

Let's look at 2 Thess. 2:1-12 again. It says, "Now we beseech you, brethren (believers), by the coming (parousia, presence; not apocalypse, revelation) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our (believers) gathering together (episunagoge, a complete collection; especially a Christian meeting, assembling together) unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ (most major MSS have day of the Lord) is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the millennial Day of the Lord) shall not come, except there come a falling away (apostasia, departure, the first Rapture) first, and that man of sin (the False Prophet) be revealed, the son of perdition (Rev. 17:8); Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"

Continuing, "And now ye know what withholdeth (keeps the False Prophet from being revealed) that he might be revealed in his time (the Tribulation). For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he (the Holy Spirit in the Bride of Christ, the salt of the Earth) who now letteth will let (Old English for he who now hindereth will hinder), until he be taken out of the way (at the first Rapture). And then (after the Pre-Trib Rapture) shall that Wicked (False Prophet) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders (Rev. 13:11-18), And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them (those that perish) strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

> > There is here no separation between the Rapture and the Revelation. The Coming is the one and only Coming spoken of throughout the two chapters, the Coming described in chapter one, verses seven and eight.

The Pre-Trib Rapture is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is when the Bride of Christ group will see the Bridegroom (Christ) revealed in all his splendor (Rev. 1:13-15). The Greek word translated Revelation is apokalupsis, appearing, coming, manifestation, be revealed, revelation. It is talking about his being revealed to wise virgins at the first Rapture.

At the time of the Pre-Trib Rapture, Jesus will say to the Bride group, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning (Lord of the Old Testament) and the ending (Lord of the New Testament), saith the Lord, which is (at the Rapture), and which was (at the First Advent), and which is to come (at the future Second Advent), the Almighty" (Rev. 1:8).

In Rev. 1:19, Jesus told John to "Write the things which thou hast seen (before the Rapture), and the things which are (at the Rapture), and the things which shall be hereafter" (after the Rapture). He wrote about things before the Rapture in Rev. 2 and 3. The things at the Rapture are told in Rev. 4 and 5. The things after the Rapture start in Rev. 6.

> > I learned, too, that the word for "meet" in 1 Thessalonians 4: was only used in two other places, and, in both cases, it meant "returning with" and not "remaining at" the place of meeting. When the brethren from Rome met Paul, they immediately returned to the city with him. When the Virgins met the Bridegroom they accompanied Him back to the wedding. When the saints meet Christ in the Air, as He comes to judge the nations and establish His Kingdom on earth, they will return with Him. There is no Scripture that says they will remain for some seven years in the Air.

The word meet is apantesis. It means a friendly encounter, meet. If it means "returning with," the Bride RETURNS WITH Christ to Heaven. That is what she will do. Of course she won't stay 7 years in the "Air." Mt. 24:31 shows that on the day of the general assembly in Heaven (Heb. 12:23), the Bride saints are to be gathered "from one end of heaven to the other."

> > As Christ descends with His angels after the Tribulation, the saints ascend, and, meeting Him in the Air, turn and continue with Him back to the earth.

I don't think so. If that were true, all the saints would have gone through the Day of God's Wrath, which precedes the Second Advent by 7 months (Eze. 39:12,13).

All the saints of both Raptures will be in Heaven on the Day of God's Wrath on Earth. They will be receiving their rewards while the asteroid impacts devastate the Earth. Rev. 11:16-18 says, "the four and twenty elders (who had been caught up in the first Rapture, Rev. 4 and 5), which sat before God on their seats (thrones), fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art (on the first day of his millennial kingdom), and wast (at the Pre-Trib Rapture), and art to come (at the still future Second Advent); because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry (Gog's army attacks Israel), and THY WRATH IS COME, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged (at the Judgment Seat of Christ), and that thou shouldest GIVE REWARD unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, SMALL AND GREAT; and shouldest destroy them (it's the Day of God's Wrath) which destroy the earth."

> > "The Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints" (1 Thess. 3:13), is unquestionably the Revelation, after the Tribulation, simply because the words, "with all His saints" are added.

Christ brings all his saints with him from Heaven at the Second Advent. He had been revealed to the Bride group at the Pre-Trib Rapture and to the Tribulation saints at the Pre-Wrath Rapture.

> > There is no Rapture in Revelation until chapter nineteen is reached.

When Jesus wrote the script for his dramatic production, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ," he did what our movie directors do today. He started off with a Preview.

The preview of the Rapture is in Rev. 1:9-18. It says, "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation (not The Tribulation that is the 70th week of Dan. 9:27, but tribulations such as we are being tried with right now), and in the kingdom and patience (also mentioned in Rev. 3:10) of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos (meaning mortal), for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was (lit., became) in the Spirit on the Lord's day (first of the two days of the Son of Man, i.e., first of the two Raptures, Luke 17:22), and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet (the "trump of God" of I Thess. 4:16, not any of the 7 trumpet judgments), Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last:...

Continuing, "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks (i.e., the 7 churches); And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man (Christ on the first of the two Days of the Son of Man), clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle (symbol of deity). His head and his hairs were white like wool (as God's), as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass (meaning judgment), as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars (he has just caught up the 7 star performers of the 7 church groups): and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword (to cut off the foolish virgins, Luke 12:46; Mt. 24-51): and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength (i.e., his glory shone forth). And when I saw him (in Heaven), I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first (YHWH King of Israel) and the last (YHWH of hosts, Isa. 44:6): I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

> > There is no Scripture for a pre-tribulation rapture.

What John acted out in the Preview actually takes place in Rev. 4:1-4. He said, "After this I looked, and, behold, A DOOR WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN: AND THE FIRST VOICE (Christ's trumpet voice, Rev. 1:10) WHICH I HEARD WAS AS IT WERE OF A TRUMPET TALKING WITH ME (the first "trump of God" of I Thess. 4:16); WHICH SAID, COME UP HITHER, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter (after the Rapture). And immediately I was in the spirit (as in Rev. 1:10): and, behold, a throne was set IN HEAVEN, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper (first stone in the breastplate) and a sardine stone (last stone in the breastplate, i.e., he is the first and the last): and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald (Judah's stone). And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." John has received his crown and been seated on one of the 24 thrones. They are occupied by the 12 patriarchs of Israel and the 12 apostles of Israel, of which John is one.

The elders are our representatives in the government of God. They are out of one nation--Israel. The saints singing the new song in 5:9,10 are "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." This is the Bride group that have already been made "kings and priests" to reign (epi) over the Earth."

> > I wonder if we have been lulling the Church into a false security? Can it be that we have been preaching an easy escape? Ought we to prepare the Church for the greatest of all ordeals? Should not our teaching harden her for the fires of the Tribulation?

I wonder why Jesus did not give us any instructions on how to prepare for the Tribulation. I wonder why he didn't say for us to teach such things. Instead of telling us how to survive when we can't buy or sell, he said, "Watch ye therefore, and PRAY ALWAYS, THAT YE MAY BE ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT SHALL COME TO PASS, AND TO STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN." We will stand before Christ at the Rapture.

In the Preview of the Rapture in Rev. 1, John was on Patmos, which means mortal. He heard Christ's "great voice, as of a TRUMPET," became in the spirit and was caught up to Heaven.

Then verse 13 says, "in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto THE SON OF MAN, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle." In verse 20, Jesus gave us the key to understanding verse 13. He said that the seven candlesticks are the seven churches. After the great voice like a trumpet, the seven churches stand before the Son of Man in Heaven. In Rev. 4:1, we find out what the great voice like a trumpet said--"Come up hither." I'm waiting to hear my Lord's trumpet voice. Agape

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