Question / Comment - Only three verses are necessary to prove a pre-tribulation rapture is false.

Only three sets of scripture are required. They prove no pre-trib rapture.

1 Cor, 15:51-52 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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 Thes. 4:15-17 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. 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: 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.

Rev. 20:4-5 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

This last verse clearly indicates that those beheaded during the tribulation are in the first resurrection
 

Reply

 

Hi, and thanks for the email. Wouldn't it be nice if either side of the debate could could just quote three scriptures and that was the end of it? Unfortunately, it is a little bit more complicated than that. And I don't have any problem with the three scriptures quoted, and I certainly don't think they contradict a pre-tribulation rapture in any way. I guess the main point that you were making is that Rev 20:4-6 says that this is the 'first' resurrection... so how could there possibly be a resurrection before the 'first' one?

 

This is not a new argument and what some misunderstand is that 'first' resurrection includes several stages. It is first in type, not first in order of time as you seem to take it. The 'first' resurrection is contrasted in Rev 20 with the 'second' death. If a person is part of the first resurrection, then the second death has no power of them. It is also contrasted with the second resurrection which is of those that have to stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment. It is not saying that this is the first ever resurrection and there cannot be any before this. 

 

Now, it is pretty obvious that Revelation 20 is not the 'first' resurrection in time or numeric order. That honour goes to Jesus, as the Head of the body, who is said to be the 'first fruits of the resurrection.' (1 Cor 15:20-25). Jesus was the first stage of the 'first' resurrection. The second stage of the first resurrection involves those that are believers in Christ when He returns. (1 Thes 4:15-17 and 1 Cor 15:51 as you have quoted above.) The two witnesses are also resurrected and taken into Heaven during the tribulation period (Rev 11:11). They are also part of the 'first' resurrection even though they are clearly raised before the timing of Revelation 20. Finally, there is a resurrection of the tribulation saints which you have quoted above from Rev 20:4-5. The resurrection of the tribulation saints in Revelation 20 completes the first resurrection. It completes the resurrection of the righteous.

 

Hope this helps and feel free to write back,

 

May God Bless.
 

His Reply

While the idea of a pre-trib rapture may make people feel good, nowhere in Gods word does it say that God is going to take His children out before the tribulation. Because the idea of being here when it is going on scares a lot of people they interpret various scriptures to justify the pre-trib rapture. They use these scriptures from Mat. to justify it because it says that Jesus will send His angels to gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Mat.24:29 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:
Mat.24:30 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.
Mat. 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

You will find that Mark said something else.

MK. 13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
MK. 13:25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
Mk. 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
Mat, 13:27 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.

Notice carefully that verse 27 says from the uttermost part of the earth first. That agrees with us being changed then the dead rising in both 1 Cor. 15:51 and 1 Thes, 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: Before I did my own research and found out that pre-trib was not so, it would scare me badly time I read Revelation. Since I learned the truth it no longer scares me.

Many people who teach pre-trib say that while the tribulation is taking place that the saints will be judged and the marriage supper of the lamb will take place. Rev. definitely does not agree with that.

Rev.19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
Rev. 19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
Rev. 19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
Rev. 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Rev. 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Verse 2 clearly states that the great whore has been judged and verse 7 that the marriage supper of the lamb has come and his wife has made herself ready. Do you suppose she is going to get herself ready after she gets to heaven or she got there because she was ready.

Sorry but first can't be broken into parts. It is talking about the first resurrection after the tribulation. This is the meaning of the Greek word translated first in Rev. 20:5 G4413 protos pro'-tos
Contracted superlative of G4253; foremost (in time, place, order or importance):
before, beginning, best, chief (-est), first (of all), former.

1 Cor. 15:51 clearly and distinctly says that Jesus is coming at the last (
G2078 h eschatos es'-khat-os A superlative probably from G2192 (in the sense of contiguity); farthest, final (of place or time):ends of, last, latter end, lowest, uttermost) trumpet and we will be changed and the dead will rise. We will be changed and the dead will rise in that order. It fully corresponds with 1 Thes. 4:16.
 

Reply

Hi and thanks for the reply.

While there is probably many aspects of the Christian life that we would agree on, it is fair to say that the timing of the rapture isn't one of them! So I'll try reply briefly to what you have written above. I don't see any point in writing a lot as I think the old saying applies here - 'A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.'  But some of what you have written definitely requires a reply. I'll put your comments in blue.

While the idea of a pre-trib rapture may make people feel good, nowhere in Gods word does it say that God is going to take His children out before the tribulation. Because the idea of being here when it is going on scares a lot of people they interpret various scriptures to justify the pre-trib rapture.

Those that teach a pre-tribulation rapture do so because they see it taught in the word of God. It might surprise you but we aren't actually at home shaking in our boots at the thought of the tribulation, desperately trying to interpret scriptures in a way to ease our great fear. Among others, we believe the following scriptures show that God will rapture the Church before the tribulation.

1 Thes 1:9-10 'They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the deadJesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.'

1 Thes 5:4-5,9 'But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness... For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev 3:10 'Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.'

Luke 21:36 '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.'

Are you doing what Jesus told you to here and praying that you may be able to escape this time and stand before the Lord?

They use these scriptures (Matt 24:29-21 and Mark 13:24-27) to justify it (pre-trib rapture) because it says that Jesus will send His angels to gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Now you're confusing me. I've read quite a few books on Bible prophecy and end times (from all aspects of the timing of the tribulation) and I have never seen someone who believes in a pre-tribulation rapture use Matt 24:29-31 or Mark 13:24-27! Why would they? The timing of this gathering is clearly said to be 'after the tribulation of those days'. These scriptures aren't speaking of the rapture of the Church at all. They are speaking of the gathering of Israel, at the sound of the great trumpet, that has been prophesied in the Old Testament to occur at the end of the tribulation. Dr. Arnold Fructembaum, in his book 'The footsteps of the Messiah' writes

'The background to the Matthew (24:31) passage is Isaiah 27:12-13... the background to the Mark passage is Deut 30:4, which also emphasizes that the final restoration (of Israel) will come from two localities: earth and Heaven... Those who are gathered from the uttermost part of heaven will be the resurrected Old Testament saints. This part of the Olivet discourse summarizes many Old Testament prophecies (eg Is 11:11-12:6, 43:5-7, Jer 23:5-8, 31:7-14, Ezek 11:16-21, 20:40-42, 36:22-31) specifying that the final worldwide restoration will come only after the Second Coming, and not before.'

Many people who teach pre-trib say that while the tribulation is taking place that the saints will be judged and the marriage supper of the lamb will take place. Rev. definitely does not agree with that...Verse 2 (Rev 19:2) clearly states that the great whore has been judged and verse 7 that the marriage supper of the lamb has come and his wife has made herself ready. Do you suppose she is going to get herself ready after she gets to heaven or she got there because she was ready.

Sorry, but I don't understand your logic here. Just because Rev 19:1-7 speaks of an earthly judgment upon the great whore (mystery Babylon) doesn't have any relevance as to whether the Judgment seat of Christ has occurred in Heaven during the tribulation or not. They are two totally different judgments. But in answer to your question, yes, I definitely believe that it is the Judgment seat of Christ that prepares the Bride for the wedding. During this time, it is said that the fire will burn up all the useless works (the wood, hay and stubble) so that all that is left is the precious gold, silver and precious stones of her good works (these are the wedding clothes - the 'righteous acts of the saints' as Rev 19 puts it). It is only at this stage that she would be prepared for the wedding, not before.

To suggest that it is actually the tribulation that makes the bride ready for the wedding, in some sort of 'protestant purgatory', is wrong for the following reason. The bride is made up of believers in Jesus for the last two thousand years. My grandmother was one such believer who has passed on to be with the Lord. So tell me, how will she get ready for the wedding if it is the tribulation that makes the bride ready? Will it be the judgement seat of Christ or the tribulation that gets her ready? Maybe the Lord is going to resurrect all believers in the last two thousand years just before the tribulation just so that they can go through the tribulation? Nonsense of course! No, there isn't a protestant purgatory needed to get the bride of Christ ready. Once she has passed through the Judgment seat of Christ only her 'righteous acts' will remain and she will be clothed, ready for the wedding.

Sorry but first can't be broken into parts. It is talking about the first resurrection after the tribulation.

Two points: firstly, the Greek word for 'first' (Strong's 4413 as you mentioned) means:

1) first in time or place
1a) in any succession of things or persons
2) first in rank
2a) influence, honour
2b) chief
2c) principal
Enhanced Strongs Lexicon, 1995. 

So first can mean first in rank or honour and it stands as such in Rev 20 because it stands it contrast with those that are raised later in the chapter, without honour and face the great white throne of judgment (the second death). So to indicate that it cannot be in different phases is wrong. There is nothing in Revelation 20 that says there cannot be a resurrection before this. As I pointed out earlier, there clearly are resurrections before this 'first' resurrection mentioned in Rev 20.

The second point is that I agree that this is the first resurrection after the tribulation. But again, in no way does this indicate that there isn't a resurrection before this point. The two witnesses was one example that I used to show that there is clearly a resurrection before this point of time. You didn't even attempt to answer that. And Jesus Himself is actually the 'first fruits' of the resurrection. 

1 Cor. 15:51 clearly and distinctly says that Jesus is coming at the last trumpet and we will be changed and the dead will rise. We will be changed and the dead will rise in that order. It fully corresponds with 1 Thes. 4:16.

I agree that 1 Cor 15:51 and 1 Thes 4:16 correspond. I also agree that we will be changed at the last trumpet. But the order of events is the reverse of what you have said however. The dead shall rise first according to 1 Thes 4. I must admit that I haven't been clear on the point you were making by repeating that this occurs at the last trumpet however. So you will have to forgive me if this isn't what you believe. It is just that I have seen that others who believe in a post-tribulation rapture often try to link the 'last trumpet' with the 7th trumpet sounded in Revelation. But many have correctly pointed out that Revelation wasn't written at the time that Paul was writing to the Corinthians and as such they would not have had any knowledge of the seven trumpets. Again, I will quote Fruchtenbaum from 'The footsteps of the Messiah'.

'It is evident from the fact that Paul used the definite article 'the last trump' that he expected the Corinthians to know what he was talking about. The only knowledge they would have of trumpets are those spoken of in the Old Testament, especially those of the Feast of Trumpets. The last trump refers to the Feast of of Trumpets and the Jewish practice of blowing trumpets at this feast each year. During the ceremony there are a series of short trumpet sounds concluding with one long trumpet blast which is called the Tekiah Gedolah, the great trumpet blast. This is what Paul means by the last trump. As such, it says nothing concerning the timing of the rapture; only that the rapture, whenever it occurs, will fulfil the feast of trumpets.'

So the last trumpet is a reference to the feast of trumpets and as such, Paul was showing the just as the the early feasts of Passover, Unleavened bread and Pentecost were fulfilled, so to will the rapture be a fulfilling of the feast of trumpets. To try and link this to the trumpets in Revelation is pointless. It would not have made any sense to those whom Paul wrote to.

All the best.