The rapture is a commonly taught doctrine by the churches of today. Some rapturists will argue there will be a Pre, Mid or Post tribulation escape of the church. The question is, can we document any sort of rapture or escape in God’s Word? Let’s start by opening our Bibles to I Thessalonians 4. Typically, verse 17 is pointed to as proof of a rapture. However, we need to identify the subject at hand. In order to accomplish that let’s start with verse 13. Before we start, let’s ask our Father for wisdom and understanding of his Word, in Jesus Name Amen.
I Thessalonians 4:13
13 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."
14 "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
The topic at hand is concerning where the dead are. If we believe Christ is risen, so then are the ones who have passed on before us. They are risen with Him (II Corinthians 5:8).
I Thessalonians 4:15
"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."
We can’t prevent them because they have already passed on and are with Christ. Risen as He has.
I Thessalonians 4:16
"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:"
The Trump of God is the last trump, the seventh (Revelation 10:7, "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets”). Jesus will not return to earth or the Mount of Olives until that time. At the sixth trump, Satan will be kicked out of heaven and onto this earth playing his roll as Jesus Christ. This is why we must study to show ourselves approved.
I Thessalonians 4:17
"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."
Now we have a clear picture. We that are alive at Christ’s return, at the seventh trump will meet with Him and those who have passed on before us. The word “air” (Strong’s Word: 109) here means to “breathe”. This is the breath, the breath of life, just as God breathed it into Adam (Genesis 2:7). At the last trump, the seventh which is Christ’s return we will be changed into our spiritual bodies, in the twinkling of an eye, just as Paul foretold us in I Corinthians 15:51-56. (If you are not in a spiritual body, then Jesus hasn’t returned!)
Now let's take a look at the word "cloud" used here.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
Paul used the word “cloud” here as well. Why? It’s a figure of speech, there were so many witnesses gathered together that it was like a cloud. Just like Paul would describe in I Thessalonians 4:17,when Jesus returns with those who have passed on before us. It’s simply describing a multitude of people.
We are not flying away somewhere. Remember, Jesus is returning to the Mount of Olives. He will set his feet down there upon his return (Zechariah 1:1-4, Acts 1:11-12). If you continue reading the next chapter (I Thessalonians 5:1-6) Paul tells us to stay awake, be sober and watch. Had a rapture been a part of God's plan we wouldn't be reminded of this.
Now let’s take a look at Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians.
II Thessalonians 2:1
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,"
The topic here is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we gather back together with Him.
II Thessalonians 2:2
"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 is at hand."
Paul wrote this second letter to the Thessalonians as the first caused some confusion concerning our gathering back to the Lord.
II Thessalonians 2:3
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"
What day shall not come? The Day of the Lord, our gathering back unto Him. What “falling away?” The “falling away” from God’s Word. “Falling away” is Strong’s word 646 which means “defection from truth”. We see that becoming more prevalent day by day. Who is the man of sin, the son of perdition? It’s none other than Satan himself. He is the only one that has been condemned to death by name (Revelation 20:10, Ezekiel 28:18-19).
This is saying very clearly that the Day of the Lord, His return, will NOT happen until Satan who plays the role of the false messiah, who pretends to be Jesus Christ has been revealed. This makes it utterly impossible for there to be a rapture.
II Thessalonians 2:4
"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."
The "son of perdition", Satan, is going to put on the best acting job you ever witnessed. He will claim to be our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is why Christ would tell us, 'if they say I am here or there believe it not', this is why he warned us of false Christs.
II Thessalonians 2:5
5 "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"
6 "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time."
Who will be revealed? Satan, who will set himself up as, and claim to be Jesus Christ.
II Thessalonians 2:7
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way."
Who is he that letteth? It is Michael the archangel. Until who be taken out of the way? The subject is still Satan. Michael is holding Satan in heaven until it’s time for Michael to cast him and HIS ANGELS out (Revelation 12:7-9), then Satan will be here on earth claiming to be Christ.
II Thessalonians 2:8
"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:"
What wicked? Satan, who will appear first at the sixth trump, claiming to be Jesus Christ as verse four states. Then our Lord will return at the seventh trump to destroy him. Remember, there are a total of seven trumps and they are all in order. Follow the sequence.
II Thessalonians 2:9
"Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,"
Once again, Jesus coming is after the workings of Satan, not before. What power and signs is verse nine referring to? Satan will “doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men” (Revelation 13:13). He does this right in the sight of men! This is very deceptive is it not?
Jesus is returning to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 1:1-4, Acts 1:11-12) and he is bringing many of those who passed on before us with him. Once again this leaves absolutely no room for a rapture my friends. Quite the contrary, our job is going to be to prophesy against the false messiah, Satan (Luke 21:12-18).
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:"
After the tribulation of those days, which are the days of Anti-Christ. The days when Satan will play his role as Jesus Christ, that is the tribulation. Christ will not return until after the false messiah (Satan) is kicked out of heaven and is upon this earth. As we have learned in II Thessalonians 2:2-4.
"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Notice the word "clouds" again? Just as Hebrews 12:1 uses it with reference to people. This event happens AFTER the tribulation of Anti-Christ who is Satan not before.
Next we are going to turn our bibles to the book of Revelation. Many are never taught this book. They are told it’s not important. I beg to differ, more importantly God does. The very word Revelation means, “Be Revealed”, “to take off the cover”. Let’s do that.
18 "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:"
19 "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
If this book wasn’t important, this warning would not have been given. It’s extremely important, as is all of the Word of God. Another commonly taught scripture that there will be a rapture can be found in Revelation 4:1.
Let’s turn there.
"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."
It’s taught that the voice in heaven is speaking to the church and they will be removed from the earth during the tribulation. Was the voice talking to the church? Absolutely not! The voice from heaven was talking to John (Revelation 1:1). John was then shown the future… God is NOT bringing the church to heaven, God is coming here. Wherever God is, heaven is also.
"And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree."
These winds signal the start of the trumps. We know trump one harms the earth and trees. Trump two harms the sea.
2 "And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,"
3 "Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."
The four angels holding the winds back were told by another angel with a loud voice NOT to release the four winds which start the trumps until the servants of God have been sealed (the seven seals of Revelation 6; 8)! It’s so important they be sealed the trumps can’t start until this sealing is completed. Why is there such emphasis of this sealing if a rapture were true? If there was a rapture we wouldn’t need to be sealed with God’s Truth.
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"
We are at the Lord’s Day here. The tribulation has now passed.
10 "And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."
11 "And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,"
12 "Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen."
13 "And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?"
The Elder says to John who are these in white robes standing around God’s throne?
14 "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
15 "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them."
These are the very saints who stood against Satan and came out of the great tribulation. They are rewarded by serving at the very throne of God. For them to have came out of the great tribulation, they had to go through it.
Jesus said himself in John 17:15, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”
We have many examples of that, God protecting his own. The stories of Noah and the ark, Daniel in the lions den, Jonah in the whales belly, the three in the fiery furnace. God always takes care of his own, those who truly love him will be safe, those who stick to His Word and stand against the false messiah.
In conclusion, I would encourage you to read all of the bible verses listed and mentioned in this study. This is an extremely important topic, one your soul may very well hang in the balance of... Why do the people wish for rocks to fall on them when the Lord returns? They have been worshipping Satan who they thought was Jesus Christ! What an awful day that will be for those who truly love Christ, but were neither taught, nor took the time to educate themselves with what His Word actually says…
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