The rapture is the gathering up of God's people when He returns to get those who love Him and take them to be with Him in Heaven. There are many different ideas regarding the Rapture and when it will happen. Many people teach that it will happen before the final seven years begins. Some teach that it will happen before the Great Tribulation, somewhere in the middle of the final seven years. A few teach that the rapture will take place at the end of the tribulation when Jesus Christ returns at the battle of Armageddon.
Let’s take a look at the scriptures.
Dan 11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. 32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. 33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
This scripture is talking about the event that happens at the halfway point of the final seven years. It says; the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many. This is a very strong indication that we will be here at that event. We will be strong and we will instruct many. We will be able to help people find God at the very last! Some of us shall fall during this time. God tells us that those who die in the service of Christ will be blessed!
Dan 7:21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
The “same horn” is the horn that symbolizes the Antichrist. He will make war with the saints (us) and prevail against them until the Ancient of days came. This is Jesus Christ returning at the seventh trumpet at the end of the seven years. Again, it looks an awful lot like we will be here, and this time right up to the end.
Dan 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Again, we see that he (the Antichrist) will wear out the saints, and that we shall be given into his hand for 3.5 years, which is the length of time that the Antichrist will rule the world. This tells us that the saints of God will definitely be around during the reign of the Antichrist.
Rev 20:4 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. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Notice that it says, "this is the first resurrection"? This event marks the beginning of the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ after the tribulation. If this is the first resurrection, then it's pretty obvious that there isn't another rapture that happens sometime before this. And, John saw the souls of them that died for Jesus and did not take the mark of the beast or worship him. If we aren’t here during the end of the seven years when the mark of the beast is implemented, there would be no one who would fit this description.
Rev 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
He (the Antichrist) will make war with the saints and all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life. Those who know God have their names written in the book of life. Again, looks an awful lot like we’re here during the reign of the Antichrist.
2 Thess 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; 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.
That day, the day Christ returns, will not come until after the antichrist is revealed. This event (the abomination of desolation where the antichrist is revealed) does not happen until half way through the final seven years.
1 Cor 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 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.
Paul tells us that the dead will be raised and that we will be changed at the sound of the last trumpet. There isn't anyone who will argue the fact that the last trumpet, the 7th trumpet, is the battle of Armageddon where Jesus returns to put down the governments of man and set up His kingdom at the end of the tribulation. This passage tells us without a doubt that the rapture will be at the end of the tribulation.
1 Thess 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: 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.
The Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the trumpet of God, and the dead shall rise first and then we that are still alive will be caught up with them together in the clouds. Is there another trumpet that brings the rapture? Not that I've ever read in the bible. This, again, is the 7th trumpet.
Matt 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 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: 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. 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.
Except for the elect’s sake (God’s people) those days shall be shortened. Immediately after the tribulation… they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven… and he shall send his angels to gather together his elect from everywhere. Those days shall be shortened for our sake and when Christ returns at the sound of a trumpet (the seventh trumpet at the end of the tribulation) we will be gathered to Him! This passage is definitely telling us that it’s after the tribulation (verses 29 - 31) that we are gathered to the Lord!
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
God tells us to be patient and have faith when the mark of the beast is implemented. Why would we need this warning if we aren’t here?
As much as I’d like to skip the tribulation, I think we will have to endure it. Without the Holy Spirit, I imagine it will be impossible. Thank the Lord for His Spirit that lives within those who follow Him!
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Thank Jesus for not leaving us alone! I think we will need His strength!
Who will be left behind?
There is a fictional book series called Left Behind that has become very popular recently and has even become a movie series. In this series, some of the people that are left behind realize that they missed the rapture and turn to God. They begin a crusade called the Tribulation Force to try and win over the other remaining people. While this is a great story, it is completely fictional and it will not happen . We know that the rapture will happen at the end of the final seven years and that it happens at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ which is at the time of the Battle of Armageddon. Shortly after this, God sets up His kingdom on earth and removes all earthly governments. There will be no second chances. When God returns he is not coming for everyone, he will gather only His church to Him. The dead will rise first and those who are alive and remain will be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortal to immortal and will be caught up to Jesus in the sky. None of those who remain will be part of the true church. God will then wipe out the armies coming down on Israel at Armageddon and will unleash His wrath upon the earth. Many, many people will die during this short period of time. Remember that this is the first resurrection and that the second resurrection, found in the end of Revelation 20 is the judgment of those who did not have the Holy Spirit, were not part of the true church, and did not follow Christ.
We do not want to be left behind!
Who will suffer Great Tribulation?
Another point I have discovered in my studies, is that the Great Tribulation isn’t going to necessarily be for the “world”, but for the Saints of God. Take a look at these scriptures:
Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Jesus said in Luke above that His day, the day He returns, would be as the days of Lot and Noah. When destruction came on the world at the flood and at Sodom and Gomorrah, the only people that had “tribulation” were the men of God. Lot was persecuted and so was Noah, by the people who did not believe. The wrath of God was poured out on the other people after God saved His faithful. The world today is just like it was before the flood and before Sodom and Gomorrah destruction. The wrath of God will be poured out only after He has saved His faithful, but the time of trouble called the Great Tribulation will be trouble for the saints, not the rest of the world. This is discussed in detail in chapter 10 of this book.
1 Thess 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
The Lord will come as a thief in the night, but only to those in darkness, not to those who know the Lord. They shall say, “Peace and Safety”, just as the world was reveling in abandon before the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. What is the call of the New World Order? Peace and Safety!
Rev 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 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.
Those that come out of great tribulation in this passage are the Saints of God.
Wait a minute! Does that mean we will suffer the wrath of God!?
The great tribulation is the wrath of Satan, not the wrath of God. The wrath of God is the Vials (Rev 15:1 and Rev 16:1)
And, God specifically tells us that we will not suffer the wrath (of God) to come.
1 Thess 1:10 ...Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
1 Thess 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ
The devil will be cast to earth having great wrath for 3.5 years, the last half of the final week of years. This 3.5 years will be the great tribulation. It will be Satans wrath as he knows his time is very short. (Revelation 12)
Please see Chapters 8 and 10 (the previous chapter and the chapter following this one) for more information on this.
If you're still uncertain, please take a look at the following list comparing scriptures where God returns:
Rev 11:14-19 (7th trumpet); Rev 6:12-17 (6th seal); Rev 16:17-21 (7th vial)
The coming of the Lord will be a very big and calamitous event.
Wrath of God, great shaking or earthquake, etc.
Daniel 2, 7, 8, 11, 12
2:34-35 – The last world dominating power is the iron mingled with clay and will be in power when Jesus returns.
7:8-12 – The four kings will be on the earth when Jesus returns.
8:25 – The Antichrist will cause craft to prosper, by peace will destroy many of Gods people, will stand up to Christ when He returns, but shall be broken without hand.
11:21 through 12:1 – The antichrist will establish himself but shall come to his end, and at that time there will be a time of trouble such as never was, and at that time the people of God will be delivered.
Matthew 24:30, Mark 13, Luke 17:24
Immediately after the tribulation -
Sun, moon, stars darkened.
Wrath of God, great shaking or earthquake, etc.
Jesus will come with power and glory as the lightning comes from the east to the west. The whole world will see him.
The angels will be sent with the sound of the trumpet and gather His elect.
2 Thess 2:1-8
The coming of the Lord and our gathering to Him will not come until the Antichrist is revealed by the Abomination of Desolation.
The Lord will consume him with a word.
His coming will be bright.
1 Thess 4:16-17
Descends with a shout.
Will catch up the elect to meet Him in the clouds.
He comes with clouds.
Every eye shall see him.
Marriage supper of the Lamb.
Battle of Armageddon.
Jesus treads the wine press of the wrath of God as depicted also in Rev 14:20.
The Antichrist and the False Prophet are cast into the lake of fire.
1 Thess 5:1-4, Luke 17:24-30
Lord will come as a thief in the night, but only to those in darkness.
They (those who are in darkness) will say, “Peace and safety”, and then sudden destruction will come upon them.
Mount of Olives will cleave in half.
Lord will come with all saints.
All nations gathered against Jerusalem (Battle of Armageddon).
The Lord shall fight against the nations (Battle of Armageddon).
The Lord shall roar out of Zion.
Harvest is ripe, day of Lord at hand.
Wrath of God, great shaking or earthquake, etc.
All nations gathered in valley of Jehoshaphat to war (Battle of Armageddon).
Ez 38 - 39
Verses 38:15-16; The Lord will bring the nations against Israel as a cloud to cover the land (Battle of Armageddon).
This is the day of the Lord.
Wrath of God, great shaking or earthquake, etc.
All of these scriptures tell us the same things:
When the Lord returns it will be as the lighting flashes across the sky. It will be with a shout, with the sound of the trumpet, with power and glory. Every eye shall see Him.
It will be a surprise to the world as the Antichrist is ruling a one world government and proclaiming peace and safety, then the Lord will come.
When He comes, the saints will be gathered to Him in the air, in the clouds.
Then we will see the wrath of God poured out on the world.
Then He will descend on the nations gathered against Israel and will wipe them out and destroy the Antichrist.
When He touches down on the Mount of Olives, there will be an earthquake bigger than the world has ever seen.
He will set up His kingdom and put down the leading nations and destroy Islam, the fourth beast of Daniel 7, the last ruling one world government that the Antichrist is using to rule the world (the iron mingled with clay of Daniel 2).
It is done... Rev 21:6, Rev 16:17, Ez 39:8
When the Lord returns, every eye shall see Him, and the plan of God for this age will be done.