One of the most hot-button topics in Bible Prophecy is the timing of the rapture of the church. The rapture of the church is a secret event in which the Lord Jesus Christ comes in the air to “rapture” or “snatch up” his church age believers and take them to Heaven to the place prepared for them since he left Earth almost 2,000 years ago. The Bible makes this promise in John 14:1-4:
Jhn 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Jhn 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Jhn 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.
Jhn 14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
As we can see from the above scriptures the Lord has promised to “come again” to take believers to the place he has prepared for them in Heaven. The rapture of the church is a secret event in that it can happen at anytime since the First Coming. One of the most common mistakes made when studying the rapture is that people oftentimes confuse it with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. While the rapture of the church can happen at anytime, the Second Coming on the otherhand can’t occur until certain events have taken place on Earth (Matt. 24:29-30). These events are mainly the seven year covenant made between Israel and the Antichrist, the Abomination of Desolation, and basically the rest of the Tribulation period. The fact that the rapture of the church occurs before the Tribulation or 70th week of Daniel is why it is referred to as the pre-tribulational rapture. While some individuals maintain a pre-wrath, mid-trib, and post-trib rapture timing view, it is my opinion that after studying the scriptures, the only view that is sound and in line with God’s word is that of the pre-tribulational rapture. Some of the more popular pre-trib rapture verses are listed below:
Matthew 24:44 “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh”
1Th 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.
1Th 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:
1Th 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.
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 dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
1 Thes. 5:9 “God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The above verses show that the rapture of the church is an event that God uses to remove believers from the Earth before he pours out his wrath on unbelievers, which will be both unrepentent Jews and Gentiles. The purpose of Tribulation period is to punish unbelieving Israel and unrepentent Gentiles who have turned away from the God and delighted in their wicked ways. For almost 2,000 years Israel has refused to accept the Messiah named Jesus Christ who was the promised Messiah that God said he would send to save the world from their sins. As we know from Bible history, the Jewish authorities of almost 2,000 years ago crucified him in stead of accepting him. However, God knew this would happen and in turn used this rejection to serve as the basis for church age of salvation of grace through faith in the completed work of Jesus on the Cross. Jesus served as the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world for all of those who would believe in Him. As a result of this work on the Cross, those that believe in Jesus are made righteous by having God’s righteousness imputed to them through grace through faith in Jesus Christ. As we showed above, the Bible tells us that we who accept salvation through Jesus Christ are not appointed to the wrath of God. In the context of end times and church age believers, this would be the 70th week of Daniel or the Tribulation period. More