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The Timing of the Rapture!

by Tony Warren


n many Christian circles there is a popular theological view that states the Church must be spared Great tribulation, and so must somehow be taken out of the world before the Great Tribulation period occurs. Sadly, this spurious dogma that has been so relentlessly taught over the years that it has become one of the most predominant views in the Church of our day. However, this doctrine is not supported by a sound Biblical hermeneutic, yet it is repeated so often that today many Christians actually believe that the scriptures themselves declare these things. Clearly the Bible does not say, imply or allude to this teaching. In truth, this doctrine is a predisposed improper handling of certain scriptures that say other things, but that some Theologians teach support this belief, howbeit indirectly. If you were to ask these people to give you the exact chapter and verse of scriptures that says that the Church cannot go through Great Tribulation or that it will be taken out of the world before the Great Tribulation period, they couldn't direct you to a single passage. They are forced to provide other scriptures, which they then allege implies this, even though they readily admit it doesn't actually say it. In other words, it's their own personal interpretation of the verses, not something that God has actually inspired written. Nevertheless, it should be self-evident to the conscientious Christian that the scriptures are not subject to private interpretation or to personal opinion. Interpretations belong to God (Genesis 40:8, 41:16). Unfortunately, this very glaring and obvious lack of sound hermeneutics doesn't deter those who choose to believe what's popular. The age old adage still applies:

"if you repeat an untruth enough times, many will begin to believe it simply by process of indoctrination, and will look upon it as established truth."
-WiseManSay

This is how nearly all false teachings start. If you parrot a teaching enough times in a way that (on the surface) sounds reasonable, or that appears right in their own eyes (proverbs 12:15), there are always people who will believe it, no matter what the word of God actually says. There is not one Theologian who can give you a single solitary verse that actually says these things, nor that "unambiguously" alludes to them, yet somehow this is not an important point to many. This is the classic example of ignoring the most basic and fundamental Biblical principle of sound exegesis. That which states, "Man cannot of himself interpret God's word, the scriptures themselves must interpret scriptures." Which means that we cannot, according to our own will, personally interpret or assign meaning to scripture that God has not assigned to it. If God doesn't say something in some part of the scriptures, or if there is no unambiguous scripture that supports a view, then it's simply not God's interpretation. Rather, it is man's own personal opinion of the passage. Because as righteous Joseph declared, "it is not in me, interpretations belong to God -Gen 40:8, 41:16". Unless God is talking to us through The Burning Bush, or from The Smoke on the Mountain, then His divine revelation is in His perfect and Holy Word, the Bible. And this is where the interpretation of any passages must be found. In the word of God revealed by the Spirit of truth.

1st John 2:26-27

What was written is the word of God, and the truth of it is taught by the Holy Spirit. We cannot privately interpret scripture any way we would like, there is a system, which is to of the Spirit allow scripture to interpret what the scriptures are teaching. As a practical example, we cannot "righteously" privately interpret Ezekiel's wheel to be a flying automobile, or that the 7 Candlesticks of Revelation are 7 great volcanoes in Asia, or that the 10 horns of Daniel are a collection of utilities which help men put their shoes on. And why not? Because to do so would constitute making our own private (personal) interpretations according to what we think is right. As opposed to allowing God's word to define the 7 Candlesticks, 10 horns and Ezekiel's wheel. Interpretations belong to God, not to a dictionary, secular history or man's own thoughts on the matter.

So when is the Rapture? In this study we will take a careful look at the timing of the Rapture and great tribulation period to see if it is in agreement with the rest of the Bible. Given the Biblical facts and comparing scripture with scripture, we shall see if there is any possibility that it can be true. If so, then it will be made manifest by the Spirit of God via the Word. And if not, that will be made known through God's word as well.

First of all, a brief comment on and recognition that there are some Christians who object to the use of the word Rapture. Generally they argue against it because it's not a word that is found in the Bible, or because they have the idea that it pertains to a Premillennialism or Dispensational position. This is because so many of these Theological viewpoint use this word in their unbiblical doctrines. However, the word Rapture has nothing whatsoever to do with Premillennialism or Dispensationalism, inherently. Not only do I see no problem with using this word, I think it perfectly describes what is unquestionably scripture. We should not lose sight of the fact that that the word Rapture is derived from a Latin term meaning "caught away" and is merely used by Christians to avoid repetitive awkward quoting of an entire verse of scripture each time we reference the event that it describes. So let me be clear that when I use the word Rapture, I am simply speaking about nothing more and nothing less than what the scripture itself define as:

"when the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and when the dead in Christ shall rise first, and 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 forever be with the Lord."
          -1st Thess. 4:17

This is our being caught up (Raptured) together to be with Christ in the air at His Coming. In order to avoid typing or repeating that whole verse every time we refer to this great event, we simplify it by calling this "The Rapture!" So when we use this word Rapture, know that 1st thessalonians chapter 4:17 is what we are referring to. ..Nothing more should be read into it.

The first obvious question about this teaching that the Church must be removed before the Tribulation would be, "Why would God want to take the believers out of the world before the great tribulation?" The most common responses by the proponents of this belief are:

  1. "because God does not want his believers to go through the horrendous Tribulation of that time"
  2. "He has not appointed the Church to wrath"
  3. "He has said He would keep us from the hour of temptation."
Let's be the faithful stewards and try/test these reasons by what the word of God actually has to say on these issues. First, does God say that He won't let the believers go through any tribulation, whether great or small? The only Biblical answer is, No. It is an absolute fact that God nowhere in scripture says believers will not go through great tribulation. So we've established that Biblical fact right from the onset. God never "ever" uses that word tribulation to either say, imply, indicate, or even allude that we won't go through it. On the contrary, when we search the scriptures concerning tribulation (the correct Biblical hermeneutic), and examine the places where that word is used, and where the event is spoken of, we see believers are always there. That's not curious, that's typical. And if believers are there, that means that the Church is obviously there. Because they are one and the same. God tells us all through scripture that we "will have tribulation" in this world and we will be afflicted and we will have trial in this world. But that we will overcome it because we are in Christ who is our strength in these times. The word declares "plainly" that tribulation is in fact normative for the believer, not something that we would fear or would be expected to be taken out of the world from. Great Tribulation is simply more of what Christians normally have in the world. It is the normal expectation to being a follower of Christ. Many of these Theologians understand this truth about tribulation being normative for believers, and so they attempt to make an artificial distinction by the objection:

"..Yes, True, but in this time, it will be different tribulation, and so God will be merciful and not let us go through that, for he is not going to beat up on His bride".

As faithful Christians, the first obvious question should be, Where is the scriptural support for the claim that God won't allow His believers to go through tribulation that is Great? Moreover, where is scriptural support that this tribulation will be different (other than simply being more or greater)? Is there is scripture where God says, "I will let my Church go through tribulation, but not if I add the word great to it?" The truth is, there isn't. That is a addendum by those who believe in this doctrine, but not one that is prescribed by the word itself. So in reality, this is nothing more than the rationalizations required to justify holding to this theoretical teaching. There is not one scripture anywhere in which God tells us that He will not let the Church go through Great Tribulation. And as the word of God is our supreme authority, we should not presume to claim something that the word doesn't claim.

Another thing we should understand here is that this Greek word translated great is [megale], meaning large in size or big in dimension. For example as we would use it in a sentence like, "A great fire swept through Chicago", or "there was a great flood in Mississippi in 1927," or "the tribulation in New York was great". It doesn't mean this is a new kind of fire, flood or tribulation than men can't cope with, it simply delineates there is a greater amount of these things that are normative. But the way some Theologians teach on this issue, you would think that there was going to be new ways invented to persecute Christians at this time so that God wouldn't allow it. But not at all--Christians have been persecuted in every imaginable way, and had tribulation that is unthinkable, but God never took them out of the world to avoid it. The phrase Great Tribulation is used to denote that because the love of God will wax cold, the tribulation of this period will be more widespread or greater than it has ever been in history. Just as if we were to say, "Noah was in a Great flood". It doesn't denote there was a new kind of water or flood, it simply denotes that this flood was greater (more water) than all the other floods. The flood waters were the same, there was simply much "more" of it.

Likewise, that is how the word great is used to describe this period of tribulation. At this time, there will be much more iniquity abounding and more spiritual persecution of anyone holding faithfully to the truth of scripture. Thus, greater tribulation to them in the world than ever before. But nowhere does God say Christians won't go through it. On the contrary, indeed the Church is the very ones who are "in tribulation and persecuted" for the cause of Christ at this time . Just as they have been for centuries. They have been burned at the stake, Stretched on the rack, Stoned to death, Sawn asunder, fed to the lions, crucified, tortured, and severely beaten. God didn't rapture them because he didn't want them to suffer in this world, He is sovereign and could have but He allowed it. Are we better than these who went before us that God changed and won't allow us to go through anything like that? Theologians claim these things, but God says "pick up your cross and follow Me." God says, if they've done it to me, expect that they'll do it to you, for we are not greater than He.

    John 15:20

These are the things God says, not, "..you poor Christians, I'll not let you go through great Tribulation." That would be the exact opposite of what we see as normative for Christians all throughout scripture. Indeed it is through these tribulations and persecutions that we learn humility and grow closer to the Lord. Our weakness in great tribulation makes us aware of our lack of ability to overcome of ourselves, so that we are strong in the Lord. It highlights our inadequacies and causes us to turn our hearts to God, from whence cometh our help. In trial and persecution we come to understand more fully how truly helpless we are without Him and thus appreciate Him more, to His Glory. Tribulation humbles us and is a blessing in disguise, compelling our dependence on Him. We don't need to be taken out of the world, for His Grace is more than adequate, it's sufficient.

    2nd Corinthians 12:9-10

The Apostle Paul understood this concept, for he knew that nothing this world could offer was a defeat. Stephen was dreadfully and brutally stoned to death, and God allowed it. Would Christians in the time of future Great tribulation be killed in a more horrible way, so that God couldn't allow it? There is no scripture to support these sundry beliefs, because that is not what is in view for this period. Tribulation is not something that is abnormal for the believer. But don't take my word for it,

    John 16:33

We've all heard what these Theologians tell us about believers and God's desire that they not go through great tribulation, but here is what God Himself tells us about the matter. God didn't promise us peace in the world. On the contrary, He promised us Peace with God, and war and enmity with the world. We shall have tribulation in this world, and Christ didn't add any end note declaring, "unless it is Great tribulation!" That whole idea is the product of wishful thinking, unsound eschatology and humanism. The unsaved who are at enmity with Christ have always hated us and reviled us and persecuted us. God isn't going to take us out of the world so we can have peace. As John 16:33 says, our Peace is in Christ and that is all we need. Yes, in the world we shall have tribulation, but He has overcome the world for us. That is precisely why "His Grace is sufficient."

Note that whenever these Theologians allege that we won't be in the great tribulation period, the verse they will give you as their Biblical support will never "ever" have this actual word "Tribulation" in it. Mark that down in indelible ink because it is a faithful truth. Whenever they explain about how we won't go through the tribulation, any verse they give to confirm this, will never actually have the word tribulation in it. It is amazing to me that some do not find this curious that God would talk about saving us from the tribulation, without ever using the word.

In reality, we can readily discern why the word is not there. It's Because God never said that we won't go through the tribulation, and that is precisely why they can't give you a verse where He uses the word. They will give you a verse and tell you we should interpret it as the Great Tribulation period that Jesus spoke of, or they will give you a verse and tell you God "means" tribulation when He says this, but they can never give you a verse where the actual word is used. That's no small caveat to brush aside. It's a very telling fact when we consider wisely what this actually means. It means God didn't actually say what they are alleging He did, they said it! By contrast, I have given you unambiguous verses, direct from scripture that says, "in the world you shall have tribulation." And there was no exception clause for great tribulation.

Moreover, the very 24th chapter of Matthew which speaks of the Great Tribulation Period clearly illustrates that believers are both there, and they are being warned of Christ how to deal with this time.

    Matthew 24:20-21

Christ is talking to the Church throughout this narrative, and he says "Pray ye" (indicating that the Church are still here during this Great tribulation period), and telling them that they will be hated and they are to flee to the mountains. How can Christ's people (The Church) flee to the mountains if they are not here?

So who is right, God's word itself or these theologians contradicting it? Will believers have tribulation in the world as God says, or will God take them all out of the world so they won't have tribulation that is great? According to what scripture declares about this great tribulation and persecution, and the people there who will be trying to deceive them (believers) at the time, it is perfectly clear that they will be there. Isn't that precisely why Christ is warning the Church here. That they be ready, prepared, aware of these false prophets and persecutors? So it comes down to the same age old question. Are we going to believe man's tradition, or believe what God's word actually says?

    Romans 3:4

The fact is, this tactic of making an artificial distinction between minimal tribulation, and great tribulation (as different persecution where God won't allow us to be persecuted this way), does a great disservice to the great Christians who went before us. The logic is extremely flawed because whether great or small, it's still the same tribulation. The word does not change, it's a mathematical equation so only the amount changes. In other words, the difference between tribulation, and great tribulation is the amount of it. It's not a completely different thing where the law of Christian tribulation is abrogated, its been qualified only in the amount. The rationalizing of this away is a diversion from the contradictions and lack of biblical support manifested in this whole theory. It's only different (as God's description of it demonstrates) in that there is simply a greater amount of it. We simply define tribulation, then we add a time when there is a lot more of it.

Tribulation:
  • a time of persecution, hatred, offences, revilings, betrayal, and affliction.

Great Tribulation:

  • a time of great persecution, great hatred, great offences, great revilings, great betrayals, and great afflictions.

Where is the mystery? It is very simply a time when the love of God fades, and tribulation of His people is multiplied greatly.

More than that, all we have to do is look at where the great tribulation is spoken about in scripture and we see clearly that believers are still in the world. Unlike those who teach the theory of a pre-tribulation rapture, "we" can look at the places where the actual word tribulation is found and get our understanding direct from these scriptures. That's practicing a sound hermeneutic, the only way to come to real truth. Through the Spirit of truth, in comparing scripture with scripture, we can read what God actually said concerning it. For example, speaking of the great tribulation (and talking to believers) Christ says:

    Matthew 24:9

Who is the "you" in this verse if not Christ's people? This is totally consistent with what Jesus said before isn't it? In the world, ye shall have tribulation. Note that these are Christians. i.e., People who are being afflicted for Christ's name sake. Carefully note the language, "hated for the name of Christ!" It's the Church who takes the name of Christ, as we are the Christ-ians. It's Christians who are hated because of the name of Christ. Not non-Christians, but the body of Christ, the Church. In the literal, that verse says:

"..being hated by all the nations because of the name of Me!"

These believers are being hated because of the name of Christ, meaning they are Christians. Make no mistake, we are either with Christ or against Him. There is no in between. And those hated for Christ's name are quite "obviously" there during this great tribulation.

    Verse 13

There we have yet another confirmation, as no one is going to be saved but Christians. If there are those there who will endure this great tribulation for Christ name sake and be saved, then obviously the body of Christ is still on the earth when this is happening. As Paul asks rhetorically in the Corinthians, "Is Christ Divided?" And the answer of course is, No. There is only one body who takes the name of Christ and that is the Church of Christ. And we see here that it is still here at this time, being persecuted, reviled, and hated, because of His name.

So if God doesn't want his bride to go through this horrible tribulation (as is alleged), then what are these believers that Jesus is talking about doing going through the great tribulation for Christ's sake? It makes no sense because it is man's private interpretation, a wrested or twisted theology that is not biblically validated. God is not going to say that He will take His people out of the world because He doesn't want them to go through this horrible tribulation--and then turn right around and have a whole other group of His people go through that very same tribulation. That is just plain ridiculous. It is an unsound exegesis of the passages that is contradictory to all that God has written. God is not the author of confusion, man is.

    Verse 14

Who is this preaching the gospel to all nations if the Church has been taken out of the world, because this is the Church's job! This is what Acts chapter one tells us is our great commission. To be a witness unto all nations in the name of Christ. It's one of the very last things Jesus told the Church before He ascended back to heaven,

    Acts 1:8

Now, if Matthew 24:14 is not the Church of Christ, are we to assume that the Church failed in its commission to do this? Perish the thought. No, they did not fail, because they are here in the tribulation and they are the ones doing the witnessing and the ones being reviled and persecuted because of it. And when their testimony is finished, God says, "..and then shall the end come." It's totally consistent with verse 31 which declares, immediately "after" the tribulation Christ will return and gather the chosen. The gospel is preached "by the Church" to all the world, then there is a short period of great tribulation as Satan is loosed (Rev. 20), and then the end will come. It only becomes clouded when Theologians go to the scriptures with preconceived ideas about a Pre-tribulation Rapture. Then of necessity they make God's word uncertain and confused so that their own word will appear to agree. But in order for the Church to be preaching the gospel to the whole world at this time, it has to be here in the world. There are not two separate bodies of Christ, because Christ is not divided.

    Matthew 24:21-23

If any man say unto who? The Christians of course, because we are still here and there are false prophets and false Christs' abounding trying to deceive us. And God warns us, do not follow them. Do not believe them. So why would God warn the Church if the Church was not present at this time? Of course the answer is, He wouldn't! He warns the Church not to be deceived because they are still here in this great tribulation period and are the ones commanded to watch.

If we were to listen to all the voices telling us that there will be a pretribulation rapture where believers are taken out of the world before this great tribulation occurs, we'd have to ignore great blocks of scripture altogether. Not once or twice, but continually and consistently. Sadly, far too many seem to have no conscience in doing just that. It's just mind boggling what people will believe without one shred of real Biblical validation that it is true. And it's because people are indoctrinated or just too dependent upon others to check it out in the scriptures for themselves. How can someone say to the Church, Lo here is Christ, or lo there is Christ (trying to deceive them), if the Church isn't even there? How can they be hated of all because of the name of Christ, if the believers are not there? How could it almost deceive even the very elect if that were possible, if the very elect (Colossians 3:12; 1st Peter 1:2) are not here? The Elect are the believers Chosen from the foundation of the world.

    1st Peter 2:9

Note the word Chosen there. It's the exact same word as you read in Matthew chapter 24. Elect and Chosen are the exact same word. If you want God's definition of the elect, read God's word rather than listen to the traditions and theories of men. On the old testament side of the cross, the Old Testament Congregation were primarily the chosen, and on the New Testament side of the cross, the New Testament congregation are the Chosen. We are the Elect (Eph. 1:4, Romans 9:11) that the false Christs' will be trying to deceive, but who they cannot deceive because we are the Children of God who endure to the end. They will deceive the unfaithful of the Churches, but not the Elect faithful witnesses. And how is it that these Theologians say the Church is raptured, and yet no one on earth knows that Christ had come (secret rapture) and taken them? Are we to believe that Christ will come and gather the elect and no one will notice, or that they'll notice, but go about their business as usual? Quite frankly, that is Ludicrous! Just when is the Rapture?

God says the rapture comes with the sound of a great trumpet and the Lord descending with a Shout and the voice of the Chief Messenger. Without conscience man teaches that, "No, Christ comes in secret (as a thief in the night) so the world doesn't notice the Church is gone". It's not only unbiblical, it's anti-biblical. The verses that speaks about Christ coming as a thief in the night are signifying how the unbelievers won't expect anything until they see Christ in the air. It doesn't mean they won't see Him come and take the Church. In other words, it means the end catches them unaware. But this is just another example of how some Theologians use scripture carelessly, without mandate and out of context. He comes as a thief in the night to the unsaved because they're not "Watching" as the believers are. But the true believers is not caught off guard as the unbelievers will be. He doesn't come as a thief to us. And that contradicts this teaching. But don't take my word for it.

    1st Thessalonians 5:2

    1st Thessalonians 5:4 So again, it's the "day of the Lord", The Day of Judgment, and notice that they are both there. The Church as well as the unrighteous. For the unsaved, that day overtakes them as a thief in the night because they live in darkness they won't see it coming. The judgment of God will come on them quickly as they are subject to the wrath of God. But notice God "specifically" says that day shall not overtake us as a thief. Why not? Because we are the Children of light. We see and we're ready. As Christ told us to do in Matthew 24, we're watching! When we read that chapter carefully, we see that it's one day, the day of Judgment, and the day of deliverance. That Day is the day of the Rapture of God's Church, and of God's wrath upon the wicked.

    1st Thessalonians 5:9

People often use this verse as declaring a rapture before the great tribulation, but a verse out of context is pretext. That day (the last day) will be a day of wrath for the unsaved, but we have been spared from it "by the blood of Christ". We are not appointed to wrath and judgment in the lake of fire that the unsaved are appointed to. There is absolutely no question that this wrath of God is the judgment at the end of the world. We see all through scripture the same consistency.

How do most of these Theologians get past all the verses that are contradictory to their doctrines? They usually "ignore" them or skip over them pretending they aren't there. Others attempt to explain that, "they don't really mean exactly what they say". Still others wrest or twist the scriptures until they conform to their own ideas and beliefs. But to the faithful it is clear that the rapture is at the "last" day, the end of the world. All of scripture uniformly confirm this.

    Matthew 24:29-30

We see that immediately after the tribulation, and after the darkness and signs, Christ will return (and verse 43 illustrates it's as a thief and the unrighteous are not watching), and that is when the Chosen will be raptured. Curiously, many Theologians say that the rapture is when Christ comes as a thief in the night. However, when they get to Matthew 24 they claim that this chapter speaking of Him coming as a thief, is not the rapture? ..it becomes like Alice in wonderland, getting curious-er and curious-er.

Matthew 24 says Christ will return, and verse 31 says, with the sound of a trumpet Christ will send his angels and gather the elect (remember God's definition of the elect) from the four winds of heaven. We'll all be gathered together in the air to be with the Lord. So here we have the word of God telling us the rapture is after the Tribulation, and we have theologians telling us it is before. Nowhere does the word of God say the rapture is before the Tribulation. On the contrary, it illustrates immediately after. I didn't say it, God's word said that the Chosen were raised here immediately after the tribulation of those days. And it's with the sound of the Trumpet, not in secret. Christ will appear on the clouds and send his angels to gather his chosen from the four winds. Written clearly there in Matthew 24:29-31. This is the rapture, and is exactly what's spoken of again in 1st Thessalonians.

    1st Thessalonians 4:16

Compare scripture with scripture, Matthew with 1st Thessalonians, and the picture is clear when and how the Rapture occurs. And again note, it is with a shout and sounding trumpet, not secret. To think that the Lord will take the Church out first (before tribulation) is to ignore both content and context of matthew 24. Scripture is in agreement only with "a last day" rapture.

Another telling passage is the parable of the tares. All parables are given by inspiration of God for our learning, and there is a valuable lesson in this one concerning how we will be left in this world. The Parable (Matthew 13) is that there are wheat and tares sown in a field. The wheat are the believers and the tares are the unbelievers. The field is the world and the harvest is at the end of the world. That's how God (not I) interprets the parable. So it was said, "Shall we take the tares out of the world so that they won't hurt the wheat". And God says no. He wanted the tares and the wheat to remain "together" in the field until the end of the world (Which He said is the harvest), and then the separation would occur. Note carefully, God didn't say, I want to take the tares out so they won't give the wheat tribulation, nor does He say He wants the wheat taken out of the world because they might receive tribulation from the tares, He says leave them both there in the world until the end of the world when the separation would occur. Clearly, without ambiguity, we see in this that both believer and unbeliever will remain in the world "together" until the end of the world. Then the tares will be burned in the furnace, and the wheat gathered into God's barn. This idea that God won't allow His wheat to stay in the world with harmful tares is found again to be without any substance. This parable teaches us that the separation is at the end of the world, and not before.

Another reason given by some Theologians for the belief that the Church won't go through the tribulation period is based on a misinterpretation of verses like 1st Thessalonians:

    1st Thessalonians 5:9

Carefully note, the word Tribulation is never mentioned here (as usual), yet it is "read into" this verse by these Theologians. The most common teaching method they use is to read the verse quickly, and then declare, "..you see, the Lord has not appointed us to go through the wrath of the tribulation."

      ....Wait!   That's Not what it says!

This is the slight of hand method of interpretation, or simply put, it's subterfuge. Frankly, it's deceitful handling of the scriptures where people hope you listen to them, rather than read the actual text. It's to make something appear to say things that it really doesn't say. God has a perfectly good word translated tribulation and it is not the word "Wrath." If God wanted to say He hath not appointed us to go through the wrath of the great tribulation, He most certainly would have said it. But He didn't. Moreover, it goes without saying that the Lord has not appointed the Church to wrath. But the wrath in view is the wrath of His final judgment on man for his sin. As He's already said in this world we "SHALL" have tribulation. Is He contradicting Himself? Not at all. When the unsaved stand before God, they will feel the wrath of God as they are Judged. That's the wrath that we are not appointed to, not that we are not appointed to have tribulation. These Theologians might have a leg to stand on if the verse indeed said, "we are not appointed to Tribulation," but it doesn't. And do you know why it doesn't? Because God is not the author of confusion, and He's already said that in the world we shall have Tribulation! Being appointed to wrath, and going through the tribulation are two entirely different things. For example, here is what is meant by the Church (believers) not appointed to the wrath of God.

    John 3:36

You see, this is the wrath of God that the Church is not appointed to. It's the coming judgment of the unbeliever. Of course we are not appointed to this. But that does not say we are not appointed to go through the Tribulation. Again, scripture taken out of context is pretext. In fact, we can see this clearly explained right there in the very verses of Thessalonians that these Theologians use in an attempt to support this theory.

    1st Thessalonians 1:9

There we have solid Biblical proof that Christ has "already" delivered us from the wrath to come by His death on the cross. Because the wrath to come is the Judgment of God for our sins, not the Great Tribulation period. Christ didn't go to the cross to deliver us from the tribulation period, He went to deliver us from the wrath of God that would come upon us for our sins. And this verse shows that conclusively.

Another verse that is often used to make the claim that the Church won't go through the tribulation, is Revelation 3:10. But once again note carefully the word tribulation is "Nowhere" to be found in that verse. It is again "read into" the verse by those predisposed to do so.

    Revelation 3:10

But theologians read this, and then they declare, "this is talking about the Great Tribulation Period we are kept from." But again, it says nothing about a great tribulation period. Because we keep the word, we are all kept from the hour of trial or temptation. It is God that keeps us from falling or failing in our time of trial. But that in no way equates to the Church being "taken out of the world" to avoid tribulation if it becomes great. And this is where the problem lies. These theologians presuppose that the wording "keep from" means taken out of the world. It does not say that, it does not mean that, it doesn't imply that, and we can see this by comparing scripture with scripture.

First of all, the word temptation there is the Greek word [peirasmos], meaning "Trial or Testing" and is never translated tribulation. They are two entirely different words. The word tribulation is [thlipsis] meaning "persecution or affliction", and is never translated temptation. We cannot simply take the word temptation or trial (which is used liberally throughout the scriptures) and make the claim that it is the great tribulation period without so much as one confirming passage. This would be a private or personal interpretation borne out of a sloppy and unsound handling of the scriptures. It is true that temptations or trial "can" be by evil or deceiving, but that does not give licence to say that where this word is found here, it means the great tribulation period. If that were true, we'd have all sorts of verses made ridiculous by that definition of that word. Note again that while these theologians attempt to use this verse to prove that the Church will not be here, the actual language of the earth being "tried" and that those who overcome in this time of trial being made a pillar in God's Temple contradicts that. He who overcomes is he who is in Christ. But their theory is that the Church isn't even here during this temptation (trial) in order to be tried. Once again we have confusion. By the context we know believers are obviously there, and scripture teaches us that where two are gathered together in Christ's name, Christ is in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). In other words, the Church is here and it is overcoming to be a Pillar in the Temple of God. So again, the bible illustrates they are the ones being "tried" in the fire to see if they will remain faithful in the face of the false teachings and apostasy.

    1st Peter 1:6-7

Where is the mystery? That word temptations is the exact same Greek word [peirasmos] that we see in Revelation. That is what the saints have been kept from in Christ Jesus. Our trial of faith wherein we stand and endure in time of trouble. The message in Revelation to the Church of Philadelphia (nearly 2000 years ago) was a promise to them, and it is a promise to the Church today as well. It's a promise to all of us no matter if we lived in 33 A.D. or we live today. If we keep the word of God patiently, He will keep us from the time of temptation that will come upon all the world to try them. So the question is not if we are kept from the time of trial, but how we are kept from it. It doesn't matter whether it's in the hour of temptations today, yesterday, 500 years ago, or 1000 years ago. The promise remains un-abrogated. And actually, the call to God to deliver us out of temptation is the prayer we pray every day. Very literally it says:

    Matthew 6:13

Is that a prayer to be taken out of the world? The word temptation there is the exact same word [peirasmos]. We are praying here for the same thing God is promising the believers in that Church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3:10. The Promise is that in trial, testing, or temptation (all are the same Greek word), we'll be delivered out of the temptation. We'll be kept from it through Christ Jesus. We aren't praying to be taken "out of the world", but that God will "deliver" us out of this temptation. In other words, bring us safely out of the hour or time of temptation, which is our trial of faith. And this in contrast to the world, who when tried by evil fall headlong into it. They are deceived by it like a bird is snared in a trap. Our prayer is that we will not be brought into this trap of temptation, but delivered out of it. The Lord's prayer is that we be kept from the time of temptation. When the time of trial or tempting comes upon the world, the Lord's prayer we pray is that, God will keep us from it. Not out of the world, but from the temptation in the world. And to be sure, "God will see to it" because we overcome all temptations in Christ. It's the only way, the only security. There is no special temptation that God will take us out of the world to avoid. That is a myth.

    1st Corinthians 10:13

The way of escape is not to escape the world, but in Christ. And again, the time of temptation (same word, [peirasmos]) that God will keep "The Church" from who keeps the word of His patience. Note that God says it will never be greater than we can bear. That's an important point. There is No Temptation in this world that greater than the Church can bear, and that logically, Biblically and rationally would include the temptation that is spoken of in revelation chapter 3. That is to say, if God's word is true and trustworthy. So why are these people talking about the temptation of Revelation 3 that is so bad and so uncommon in the earth that we have to be taken out of the world to be kept from it? Look at that scripture above. It says, when the temptation comes, God provides a way of "Escape" out of it. That's not what I said, that's what God said. And notice carefully, it's out of the temptation but not out of the world. Though it uses the word escape, it is clearly not from the world, but from the snare of this evil. And that's what Revelation is saying also. He'll keep us from the hour of temptation. How? As He said, He'll make a way of escape out of it. Nowhere does it say, allude or imply that it will be by taking us out of the world. The verse clearly says there isn't "any" temptation taken the Church but which is common to man. That's nothing to be ignored as if it is insignificant in this issue. Consider what it says humbly and with understanding. God is telling us that there is,

"no temptation on this earth but that is common to man, and that He will with that temptation make a way for us to escape it".

And God further defines that "escape" as "being able to bear it." So be not deceived by words like "escape" and "kept from" or "delivered from" temptation. There is no temptation on earth too great for the Church to bear or that God will take us out of the world because of it. God says there isn't any temptation greater than that He will provide a way to escape "that" we'll be able to bear it.

By contrast, the Pretribulation Rapture Theorists claim, "look at revelation 3, it's temptation so great, that the Lord will take His Church out of the world." But God never said that, and it blatantly contradicts all that He actually has said. Because it is man's humanistic logic and reasoning, and not God's authoritative word. We're going to escape the hour of temptation all right, but it will be as God defines it, not theologians. God will provide that we shall endure (matt. 24:13) to the end. He will provide a way of escape, that we will be able to bear it. Jesus taught this lesson of endurance when He spoke of the parable of the sower, that the seeds that fell on rocky soil were those who would not endure?

    Luke 8:13

This is the same word [peirasmos]. These are those who were not really saved, they heard the word, but have no root in themselves (Christ is the Root), and so they are not kept by God to escape temptation or trial, and they fall away. They have no saving faith to patiently keep the word of God. With true saving faith, we faithfully keep (guard from loss) God's word so that when any time of temptation comes (whenever it comes), there is a way of escape that we are able to "endure" or bear up under it. Whether this Church in Philadelphia, our Church today, or the Church in the Great Tribulation period, we are kept from the hour of temptation. Not plucked out of the world, but escape out of the temptations in the world. That's what we just read in 1st Corinthians 10:13. And that is why revelation 3 said that it was "those who keep the word of His patience" that will be in Christ. That's the key. Those who keep the word patiently in the face of this temptation (testing) will endure. God will provide a way of escape, that we are able to endure in tribulation or in great tribulation. AMEN! It's not unlike what we read in 1st Samuel 26:

    1st Samuel 26:24

Does that verse mean that this was a prayer that God would take him out of the world? No, it's a prayer that when all tribulation comes, God will make a way for him to escape out of it. Just like the verse we read in 1st Corinthians chapter 10. It's the exact same principle.

If we are going to listen to what God says, we have to compare scripture with scripture in surrender to what it says, not what our teachers told us about this. In doing so, it becomes abundantly clear that God has promised to deliver us from the hour or [hora] time of temptation, by keeping us when we are tried. Not delivering us out of the world, but by keeping us in time of trial that we do not fall. This is a fundamental principle of Christianity which seems to have gotten lost somewhere in these changing times. There is no reason to be delivered out of the world. We are here for a reason, and that reason is to spread the gospel, and that mission is not complete for us until the "Last" day. Our prayer is to "...bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". It is not to "..take us out of the world of temptation". It's not our prayer, and it's not our Lord's Prayer for us..

    John 17:15

I ask you plainly, how much clearer can it get? Christ's prayer is not that we'll be taken out of the world of evil, but that we'll be kept from it. And just as kept from evil doesn't mean we are delivered out of a world of evil, neither does kept from the hour of temptation mean we are delivered out of a world of temptation. We are tried by it. God knows what he wants for us, and He has told us before. But don't take my word for it (Because you shouldn't) Compare Revelation 3:11 with James 1:11 and see if we are delivered from the world in order to get the crown, or if we are delivered in time of trial "in" the world. Compare these things carefully, and let the Holy Spirit of God reveal truth.

    James:1:12

Temptation is the exact same Greek word [peirasmos], and look at that verse carefully as it speaks of us being tried. It is our trial of faith in the time of temptation, and it speaks of our enduring it and receiving a crown of life, not being taken out of the world from it. Compare this verse with the Revelation chapter 3 verse (the sound hermeneutic method). That's the same promise he has given to the Church of Philadelphia, and to us, and to all who keep His word patiently, is it not?

    Revelation 3:11

Note the hour will come for what purpose? To try or test or prove them that dwell on the earth. And what is the exhortation to those who are here? Is it to prepare yourselves to be taken out of the world to avoid it? Or is it to "hold fast" that which they had learned that no man take their Crown? You decide. For it is self-evident that in Christ we will never fall or become apostate, we are safe that no man can take our crown, we will endure (hold that fast) or persevere and keep His word patiently. Because we are the election who do so in Christ. We endure the temptation when we are "tried," and God promises the faithful of the Church Philadelphia nearly 2000 years ago the same thing He promises us, he will keep them from this hour of trial, if we keep the word patiently.

    Revelation 14:12-13

Here are those that keep the word of His patience. Now how can one die in the Lord from henceforth "if" they have all been taken out of the world? Are they dying in heaven after the rapture? It makes no sense. When God says to them, "Hold fast that no one takes your crown -Revelation 3:11," He's talking to the Church there. If they were going to be taken out of the world at this time, no one could take their crown because they'd be in heaven in this time of temptation. So obviously, they are not taken out of the world, but are in the midst of those trying to take their crown by falsehoods and deception. Just as the Apostle James clearly said, Blessed is he who "endures Temptation" for when He is tried he receives a crown of life. The crown is the Kingdom and everlasting Life. No question but that they are here and must endure that no one take the crown promised them who endure.

And God's word continues, continues: God says, Because you keep My word... You see, that's what we're trying to get across here. The Church is kept from temptation because they patiently keep the word of God's patience even in the midst of all this declension and degradation among them. Or in the Literal, "The word of endurance of God." In other words, to endure in the word of God patiently. There is nothing here or anywhere else that says one single word about the Church being raptured before the tribulation. Just because this verse says, "Because we keep the word of God's patience, God will keep us from the hour of temptation," does not mean that we can arbitrarily re-interpret that to read, "We won't go through great tribulation." God simply does not say that. ..Man does.

Yes, the Church will be raptured. But it will not be before the Great Tribulation period, it will be immediately after. The Last day of the world is when Jesus will return. And as we saw in the parable of the tares, it will be to raise up both the Believers to everlasting life, and the unbelievers to judgment. The last day and not a minute before. But again, don't take my word for it. Get it from the source:

    John 6:39

    John 6:40     John 6:44     John 6:54     John 11:24 And God makes it plain that not only the resurrection is on The last day, but also the Judgment of the unjust is also on the last day. This is totally consistent with sound biblical theology, and contradicted by Premillennial Pre-tribulation Rapture theories.

    John 12:48

In a court of law, I think they'd call that an open and shut case. As we see above in the quotes, both the judgment, and the Resurrection will come on the very same "Last Day." Not 7 years before the the last day, and not 7 years before the word of the Lord will judge men, but God says they both occur at the same time. At the Last Day! Totally consistent with what God said about the wheat and the tares. Totally consistent with what God says in Matthew 24, about immediately after the tribulation. Totally consistent will all of scripture. Man can retort, "..but which Last day?" But God is not mocked.

Likewise, God says both the Resurrection and the Judgment is also at the "Last Trumpet". And He says that uniformly and consistently because it's the truth of God's word rather than the word of premillennial tradition.

    1st Corinthians 15:52

Seriously, could God have made it any clearer? And yet, the unrighteous take God's clear scripture and twist and turn it until it bears no resemblance to what God has actually said. I've had Theologians tell me, "God really didn't mean the last trumpet, He really meant the last in that particular series." As if the last actually only meant the last today, and there is another "last" tomorrow. Why would they do this to scripture? The answer is, because God's word concerning this last trumpet announcing the Rapture conflicts with their eschatology and tradition. And their word will conflict with God's declaration that the Matthew 24 trumpet actually occurs "after" this rapture trumpet! In other words, in their Theology, the rapture cannot be the same "last" trumpet described in God's word because there is a trumpet in matthew 24 which they "claim" is not the rapture of the Church after the Great tribulation.

Frankly, what they are doing is tossing God's word behind their back, and seating their teachers as the true authority over what the word means. Their understanding of the Matthew 24 trumpet is that it takes place "after" the rapture trumpet in 1st Corinthians. And so they actually claim the trumpet God said was the Last, is not really the last at all. In this, they deny God's word. And deceiving themselves, they swallow, wipe their mouths and protest, "..What evil have we done?" It's the age old story that began in the garden of Eden with the serpent's question of "..hath God said?"

If the Matthew 24:31 trumpet, is the last Trumpet (as Pre-Tribulation Rapture theorists rightly confess), then it is abundantly clear that both the rapture and the judgment is on the last day. For clearly 1st Corinthians 15:52 tells us that the Rapture is at the "Last Trumpet." That means, there "Cannot" be a trumpet after that one. And Matthew 24:29 clearly tells us this is immediately "after the Tribulation". ..Case Closed right? Not for the indoctrinated. They cling to the tradition of their Church teachers as if it were their security blanket. But this Contradiction is self evident.

Is this not the difference between those who keep God's word faithfully, and those who have no conscience and thus will change the word (deliberately or not) to fit their Church doctrines or theology. They condemn Roman Catholics for this error, and then drink from the same fountain. They make their teachers the authority over God's word, therefore anything that God says must be viewed "in light of" what their premillennial teachers claim, when it should be vice versa. Often that means that scripture must be manipulated in order to conform to these views. It's a matter of the will of man verses a humble surrender to the will of God. People rationalize that their teachers cannot be so wrong, so they theorize that God must not have meant exactly what He said. They've been taught that the trumpet in Matthew is the last one, and that the rapture has already taken place before this, so they will not receive God's word of the last trumpet in 1st Corinthians as being the Rapture and the last trumpet. No, they won't actually use the words "God is wrong," but in practice they are doing just that. When faithful witnesses to God's word testify to this obvious contradiction, they retort that this is "just your interpretation" and not what God said. Man's word that was taught them becomes more precious to them than God's actual word, evidenced by their holding onto it rather than forsaking it for what God said. Is this what the Church has come to?

    Romans 3:4

Not one Christian can give you one scripture that says we won't go through the tribulation. And we can read a myriad of scriptures that declare we absolutely will not only have tribulation in the world, but also that near the end there will be the greatest tribulation, and we will be right there enduring in the midst of it. Likewise, we have borne witness to God's word that the wrath that we are not appointed to, has nothing whatsoever to do with going through a difficult period of great tribulation. It is God's wrath upon the unrighteous, which is His judgment for their sin. No scripture has been given to show the last day is not the "last" day. No scripture was given to show the "last" Trumpet, is the next to the last trumpet. No scripture has been given to show that the Wheat comes out of the field and the tares remain in the field for many years thereafter. So the question is, shall we believe the testimony of the Bible, or the testimony of vaunted theologians? That's always been the question, and how we answer it may very well determine our spiritual well being. Because it is a good indicator of just who our authority really is. If the word of God is your authority, then you by definition are ruled by and serve God. If the word of man is your authority, then by definition you are ruled by and serve man. And you cannot serve two masters. If we serve the lawless man (man forsaking God's laws), it's for sure that we're not serving God, no matter what moniker relating to Christ that we give ourselves.

To be sure, Dispensational Premillennialism is a very popular doctrine in our day, and these people don't take kindly to the faithful witness against it. But it's not a question of how many people will revile you, or say you are not charitable, or call you a false prophet, or hate you for Christ's sake. The only question worth anything here is, "is this truly what God says, or is it all man made?" Did it truly come from God's Book, or is it someone's personal ideas and the manipulation of The Book? Did they use slight of hand, or did they quote from the scripture word for word from it? When is the rapture? Is this doctrine of a pretribulation rapture substantiated in scripture, or is it a house of straw that will fall when tried by the word? Remember this, "when your foundation is actually the word of God, then you know you've built on something solid." When your foundation is the word of diverse theologians, you don't know what you've got. And when the winds blow (Rev 7:1-2) you will find yourself where you don't want to be. And it very well may not be as inconsequential as you might think.

...He that hath ears to hear let him hear.

In conclusion, you cannot be deceived by Satan if in the face of opposition, you patiently wait upon the Lord by keeping His word faithfully. You can know the difference because one word is verifiable in scripture, and the other is based on assumption, subjection, traditions, slight of hand, subterfuge or private interpretation. Try or test your teachers. Because the unfaithful ones all have that one thing in common. They never reconcile or consider "all" of scripture because they can't--and they claim God means something even though He didn't actually say it. God's word doesn't contradict God's word, so false teachers of necessity will Ignore one verse in favor of their pet verse. If you ask them about one contradicting verse, instead of answering you supporting "that" verse, they'll write back "what about this other verse?" You see, they won't reconcile the two verses because (subconsciously or not) they don't really want the truth. They want to be justified in their sayings. There is one thing we can know for sure, and that is that any two verses that "seem" to contradict each other, must be reconciled in order for us to come to truth. i.e., they're both true because God is not the author of confusion. But let no teacher use one verse to make the other null and void. That's the first rule of sound Biblical Hermeneutics. You cannot use one verse to nullify another. If you're going to follow one verse, and throw the other out the window, then it's a sure recipe for being seduced or deceived by Satan.

Many have, and will fall in the hour of temptation that tries the world and it is always because they refuse to receive the truth in the love of which it is given (2nd Thessalonians 2:10). Sadly, they think the truth is hatred and/or arrogance when the love of truth is an evidence of the Spirit. But by the power of our merciful God, we know that some will keep His word patiently, and these are who God will Keep from the time of temptation (Trial) wherein no one will take their crown. They will escape out of temptations, for God has given them eyes to see it, ears to hear it, the strength to bear up under it, and the wisdom to flee from it.

The Great Tribulation period will come upon the world, as judgment and a trial of our faith. And when things seem their darkest, the Lord will return on the clouds of Glory after this great tribulation. And He will gather together His Elect children from among the tares, (one taken, the other left) and all the world shall behold His Glory. And the wicked shall be judged. All on one day, that Last day, which is at the last Trumpet. If we follow scripture carefully, there can be no question but that "The Timing of the Rapture" is at the last day. At the second advent of the lord Jesus Christ!

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith
unto the Churches;..."

                                -Revelation 2:7
Peace,

Copyright ©1993 Tony Warren
For other studies free for the Receiving, Visit our web Site
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Created 4/23/93 / Last Modified 3/22/01
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