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The Rapture of the Church

Part One    Part Two    Part Three    Part Four    Part Five    Part Six    Part Seven    Part Eight


Introduction

In Part One we looked at the definitions of the following terms: the Rapture, the Second Coming, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, the Millennium, and the Church. We saw that prophecy is very important to God, and therefore we should not dishonor Him by considering Bible prophecy to be a waste of time or impossible to understand.

In Part Two we examined Daniel's "70 Weeks" prophecy, and we learned that 69 of those "weeks" (483 years) have already been accomplished. The 70th "week" is still in the future, and it will be the seven years of the Tribulation. When God put His 70 Weeks plan for Israel on hold after the Triumphal Entry, almost immediately He began a new and separate plan which we call "the Church." There is only one view of the Rapture which preserves this separation between God's 70 Weeks plan for Israel and His plan for the Church, and that is the pre-trib view. All of the evidence indicates that God has intended for those two plans to be kept separate and distinct from each other, with no mixing whatsoever. Therefore, it is unScriptural to claim that the Church will go through any part of the seven-year Tribulation period.

In Part Three we saw that there will be several blackouts during the seven-year Tribulation. We also looked at the Seal Judgments, the Trumpet Judgments, and the Bowl Judgments, and we saw that God's wrath will start to be poured out onto the earth with the very first judgment at the beginning of the Tribulation period. God is not pouring out His wrath during the present Church Age (e.g. through hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.). Since the Church was not appointed for God's wrath, and since the entire seven years of the Tribulation will be the time of God's wrath, this means that the Church will not go through any part of the Tribulation period. The pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which has the Church being raptured before God's wrath starts to be poured out at the beginning of the Tribulation, which fits all of the Scriptural facts.

In Part Four we examined several different reasons why the Rapture will not happen at the seventh Trumpet Judgment, which disproves a common post-trib argument. We also saw why Matthew 24:29-31 does not refer to the Rapture, which disproves another common post-trib argument. We looked at some possible interpretations of what Paul meant when he said that the Rapture will happen "at the last trumpet," and we saw that the Rapture is the likely fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets. In addition, we saw that the seven-year Tribulation period (ending with the Second Coming) is the likely fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. The Feast of Trumpets takes place before the Day of Atonement on the Jewish calendar, which strongly indicates that the Rapture will take place before the seven-year Tribulation begins. There is only one view of the Rapture which fits this scenario, and that is the pre-trib view.

In Part Five we saw that the Day of the Lord will begin when the seven-year Tribulation period begins, and it will continue through the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, and Judgment Day, and the destruction of heaven and earth. The Bible doesn't specifically tell us if the Day of the Lord will include the creation of the new heaven and the new earth. In addition, we saw that the pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which explains why Jesus will not be in heaven to open the sealed scroll in Revelation 5:1-4. When we examined 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:5, we saw that the pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which is consistent with Paul's encouragements concerning the deceased Christians in Thessalonica. We also saw that the pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which allows for the Church to take part in the Millennium but not in the Tribulation (as Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:5). When we examined 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, we saw that the post-trib interpretation results in an unrealistic situation. The pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which results in a consistent and reasonable interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5.

In Part Six we examined almost two dozen New Testament passages which describe the Rapture as being imminent. Apart from some of the Gospel writers, every single author of the New Testament (writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) mentioned the nearness of the Lord's return, which is a significant amount of testimony. The pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which allows for this imminency of the Lord's return for the Church. We also saw that some of "the early church fathers" echoed what the New Testament says about the imminency of the Lord's return, which only fits with the pre-trib view of the Rapture. In addition, we saw that the context gives us an indication of which coming of the Lord is being described in a particular passage.

In Part Seven we saw that the Church will go through the judgment seat of Christ in heaven shortly after the Rapture. This judgment is not for salvation because everyone who takes part in the judgment seat of Christ will already be saved. Our earthly works will be "tested in the fire," and then we will receive rewards (or we will suffer loss) based on the quality of our works. We also learned that when Jesus returns to the earth at the Second Coming and sets up His thousand-year government, we will reign on earth with Him. We have no guarantee how long we will be here on earth during this lifetime, and when we step into eternity then our positions of authority will be locked in. In addition, we examined several reasons why the Church is the bride of Christ, and we saw that the stages of the ancient Jewish marriage system were "foreshadowings" of the marriage of Christ and the Church. Since the wedding of Christ and the Church will take place in heaven while the seven-year Tribulation is raging on earth, and since the Church will return to the earth with Christ at the Second Coming (to reign on earth with Him), this is further evidence that the Rapture will take place before the Second Coming. Finally, we saw that Jesus will come down out of heaven for the pre-trib Rapture when the Father says that the time has come to restore all things, exactly as Acts 3:21 describes.


In Part Eight we'll look at most of Jesus' parables of the end-times, including the entire "Olivet Discourse" in chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew's Gospel.


Two Parables of the End-Times

  • Matthew 13:24-43
    In this parable of the end-times, Jesus made an analogy concerning "wheat" and "weeds" (or "tares"):
    "Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 'An enemy did this,' he replied. The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'" ... Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field." He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."" (Matthew 13:24-43)
    In this parable we see weeds growing up among the wheat. Jesus said that when the harvest comes, the weeds will first be collected to be burned, and then the wheat will be brought into the barn. Jesus explained this parable by saying that at the end of the age, the angels will weed out all unrighteous people and throw them into the fiery furnace, and the righteous people will enjoy the kingdom of their Father. This and other parables give us the order of events which will happen when Jesus returns to the earth at the Second Coming. First, all of the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation will be killed (and the angels will take them to Hades where they will wait until Judgment Day - see my article called Did Jesus Go to Hell after He Died?), and then the righteous survivors of the Tribulation will enter into the Millennial Kingdom (Christ's thousand-year reign of righteousness, peace, and prosperity on the earth after the Second Coming). Later in this article we'll see that these unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation will be killed at "the Sheep and Goats Judgment" after the Second Coming.

    The above parable echoes what Paul said will happen to the unrighteous on the day of the Second Coming:
    "God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you." (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)
    So when Jesus returns to the earth at the Second Coming, all of the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation will be "taken" in judgment by being killed.
  • Matthew 13:47-50
    In this parable of the end-times, Jesus made an analogy concerning good fish and bad fish:
    "Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:47-50)
    In this parable, Jesus explained that at the end of the age, the angels will separate the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation from the righteous survivors (at the Sheep and Goats Judgment, as we'll see later), and then the unrighteous survivors will be "thrown into the fiery furnace." So this parable essentially repeats what Jesus said in Matthew 13:24-43 (above). Again, when Jesus returns to the earth at the Second Coming, all of the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation will be "taken" in judgment by being killed.

The Olivet Discourse

In chapters 24 and 25 of the book of Matthew (and in the parallel passages in the other Gospels), Jesus gave us a lot of information concerning future events. Since Jesus and the disciples were on the Mount of Olives when Jesus spoke about these things, this lengthy discussion is often referred to as "the Olivet Discourse."

In Matthew 24:1-2, Mark 13:1-2, and Luke 21:5-6, the disciples pointed out to Jesus how magnificent the buildings of the Jewish temple were. Jesus replied that "not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." As we saw in Part One, this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Roman army destroyed the city of Jerusalem and tore down the buildings of the temple.

In response to Jesus' prophecy about the Jewish temple, the disciples asked Him three questions (see Matthew 24:3, Mark 13:3-4, and Luke 21:7):

  1. When will the temple be destroyed?
  2. What will be the sign of Your coming?
  3. What will be the sign of the end of the age?
The disciples were essentially asking for three signs to watch for (not all of the Gospels record these three questions, and not all of the Gospels record Jesus' answers to these three questions). Now let's look at the entire Olivet Discourse and see how Jesus replied to the disciples' questions:

  • Matthew 24:4-8, Mark 13:6-8, and Luke 21:8-11
    "Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." (Matthew 24:4-8)

    "Many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains." (Mark 13:6-8)

    "He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven." (Luke 21:8-11)
    Notice that Jesus began His reply by describing some things which are not the signs to watch for. In Matthew 24:4-6, Mark 13:6-7, and Luke 21:8-9 (above), Jesus said that there will be false Messiahs, and there will be wars, and there will be rumors of wars, but these things are not the sign of the end of the age. Next, Jesus described a world war which will be accompanied by famines and earthquakes, and He compared this to the beginning of birth pains when a woman goes into labor (Matthew 24:7-8, Mark 13:8, Luke 21:10-11, above). He said that this will be the sign that the end of the age has begun, and this was the answer to the disciples' third question. For a detailed look at this fascinating sign, see my article called Signs of the Times in End-Times Bible Prophecy.
  • Mark 13:8-13, Luke 21:10-19
    "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Mark 13:8-13)

    "Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life."" (Luke 21:10-19)
    Next, Jesus told the disciples what will happen to them before the end of the age. He said that the disciples will be persecuted and hated and betrayed, and some of them will be put to death, and their persecutions will enable them to be witnesses, and so on. It's important to try to fit prophetic passages into their proper places in the overall scheme of end-times prophecy, and the words "first" and "but before all this" indicate that the above passages will take place before the sign of the end of the age.

    The next passage that we'll look at (Matthew 24:7-14) sounds very similar to Mark 13:8-13 (above) and Luke 21:10-19 (above) because it contains the sign of the end of the age. However, we'll see that Jesus was describing some things which will take place after the sign of the end of the age.
  • Matthew 24:7-14
    "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:7-14)
    The New Testament tells us that all Christians should expect persecution during their lifetime (2 Timothy 3:12), and we have seen in this series that there will be a massive persecution and martyrdom of saints during the first half of the Tribulation, and we have seen that a terrible persecution of Jews will begin at the mid-point of the Tribulation, and we have seen that the saints and the nation of Israel will be persecuted throughout the second half of the Tribulation. Therefore, when we see passages which describe persecutions, it's important to look at the context in order to determine where those passages fit into the scheme of end-times prophecy. For example, in Mark 13:8-13 (above) and Luke 21:10-19 (above), Jesus specifically said that those persecutions will happen before the sign of the end of the age. This indicates that the "you" in those passages probably includes the original disciples.

    However, in Matthew 24:7-14 (above), after Jesus described the sign of the end of the age He said "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted." Therefore, this persecution will happen after the sign of the end of the age takes place, and notice that the things which Jesus described in this passage correspond with what we have seen throughout this series in connection with the first half of the Tribulation. This indicates that the "you" in this passage is more of a general "you" which refers to those who will be alive during the Tribulation (rather than referring to the original disciples).
  • Luke 21:20-24
    "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21:20-24)
    This passage says that when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies then its desolation (or destruction) is near, and the Jews should flee to the mountains. This is Jesus' answer to the disciples' first question about when the temple will be destroyed, and none of the other Gospels record this answer. According to scholars, this prophecy was fulfilled after the first Jewish revolt broke out against the Romans in 66 A.D. (see for example The Footsteps of the Messiah, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, p. 439). The Romans surrounded Jerusalem, but then they lifted the siege temporarily when they realized that their supply lines were not secure enough for an extended siege. When Jerusalem was no longer surrounded, the Jewish Christians fled Jerusalem and set up a new community on the other side of the Jordan River because of Jesus' prophecy in the above passage. In 68 A.D. the Romans once again besieged the city, and in 70 A.D. the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple were destroyed, just as Jesus had prophesied. In addition, Jesus said in this passage that the Jews will be scattered to all the nations, which happened after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and Jesus said that Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, which began when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
  • Matthew 24:15-28, Mark 13:14-23
    "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand--then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather." (Matthew 24:15-28)

    "When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation' standing where it does not belong--let the reader understand--then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now--and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ !' or, 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect--if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time." (Mark 13:14-23)
    In these two passages, Jesus described a situation which will be somewhat similar to the Luke 21:20-24 passage that we just looked at (because all three passages say that the Jews should flee Jerusalem), and this similarity sometimes causes people to assume that all three of these passages are referring to the same thing.

    To clear up the confusion, let's first compare the Matthew and Mark passages (above) with the Luke passage (above) and list the differences between them:

    • Matthew and Mark:

      1. The Jews should flee Jerusalem when the "abomination" is set up in the temple.
      2. It will be a unique period of time in which there will be great distress such as the world has never seen before and will never see again, which will be so terrible that no-one would survive if God had not cut this time period short.
      3. There will be false Christs and false prophets.
      4. No mention of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies.
      5. No mention of Jerusalem's destruction.
      6. No mention of the prophetic fulfillment of Jerusalem's punishment.
      7. No mention of the Jews being scattered to the nations.
      8. No mention of Jerusalem being trampled on by Gentiles.
    • Luke:

      1. The Jews should flee when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies.
      2. Jerusalem's destruction is near.
      3. It will be the fulfillment of the prophesied time of punishment (for example, Jerusalem's destruction was prophesied in Daniel 9:26).
      4. The Jews will be scattered to the nations.
      5. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles.
      6. No mention of the "abomination."
      7. No mention of a unique period of time.
      8. No mention of false Christs and false prophets.

    Now let's compare the Matthew and Mark passages with the Luke passage and list the similarities between them:

    • Matthew and Mark:

      1. Flee Jerusalem and go to the mountains when something happens, which will be dreadful for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

    • Luke:

      1. Flee Jerusalem and go to the mountains when something happens, which will be dreadful for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

    As we can see, the only thing which the Luke passage has in common with the Matthew and Mark passages is that the Jews should flee Jerusalem, which will be difficult for certain people. The rest of those passages tell us that there will be two different times when the Jews should flee Jerusalem. When we looked at the Luke passage (Luke 21:20-24, above), we saw that it was fulfilled when the Christian Jews fled Jerusalem after the Roman army surrounded Jerusalem in approximately 66 A.D. The Matthew and Mark passages, on the other hand, will be fulfilled when "the abomination that causes desolation" is set up in the future Jewish temple at the mid-point of the seven-year Tribulation. At that time the Antichrist will begin a terrible persecution of the Jews, which is why Jesus told them to flee Jerusalem.

    Notice that Jesus was talking to His disciples in the Matthew and Mark passages, yet they will not be alive when the "abomination" is set up in the future Jewish temple (because they died a long time ago). Therefore, when Jesus used the word "you" He was referring to the people who will be alive during the Tribulation.
  • Matthew 24:29-30, Mark 13:24-26, Luke 21:25-28
    "Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:29-30)

    "But in those days, following that distress, 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." (Mark 13:24-26)

    "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:25-28)
    In these passages, the expressions "Immediately after the distress of those days" and "following that distress" indicate the timing of when these things will happen. In Part One we saw that the "distress" refers to the seven-year Tribulation period, so Jesus was saying that immediately after the Tribulation there will be cataclysms and complete darkness and then the whole world will see Jesus coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. Here Jesus answered the disciples' second question (about the sign of His coming). Since these passages say that Jesus' coming will be after the Tribulation period, this "coming" is the Second Coming when Jesus will return to the earth.

    At this point, Jesus had answered all three of the disciples' questions, and then He began giving us more information about the end-times.
  • Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:27
    "And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." (Matthew 24:31)

    "And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens." (Mark 13:27)
    The Old Testament prophets had provided various details about the final regathering of the Jews back to Israel, and here Jesus simply pointed out that this regathering will take place after the Second Coming. Some people interpret these passages as being a reference to the Rapture, but we saw in Part Four why these passages are referring to the final regathering of the Jewish survivors of the Tribulation back to Israel before the Millennium begins.
  • Matthew 24:32-35, Mark 13:28-31, Luke 21:29-33
    "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Matthew 24:32-35)

    "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Mark 13:28-31)

    "He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Luke 21:29-33)
    Here Jesus used a fig tree as an illustration of recognizing the signs of the times. If you look up every occurrence of fig trees throughout the Old and New Testaments, you'll find that there is no pattern in which fig trees symbolically represent Israel. In fact, notice that in the Luke passage Jesus said, "Look at the fig tree and all the trees." Jesus was not using a fig tree as a symbol of anything, but instead He was using trees as an illustration of recognizing the seasons. The analogy is that when the leaves begin to show on the trees then we know that summer is near. In the same way, when Jesus' prophecies begin to be fulfilled then we know that we are in the season of His return. Next, Jesus said that this generation which sees the Tribulation prophecies being fulfilled will not pass away before the Second Coming takes place. Notice that once again Jesus used the word "you" to refer to the people who will be alive during the Tribulation.
  • Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32-33
    "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36)

    "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert ! You do not know when that time will come." (Mark 13:32-33)
    In the above passages Jesus said that no-one knows about that day, and in context "that day" is the day of the Second Coming. The entire context of the above passages (both before and after those passages) is all about the Second Coming, so a consistent method of interpretation would mean that the above passages are referring to the Second Coming and not the pre-trib Rapture. No-one in the first century knew when the Second Coming will take place, and no-one today knows when it will take place. If anyone studies Bible prophecy during the Tribulation then they might see that the Second Coming will take place seven years after the Antichrist signs a treaty with Israel, and it will take place 1,260 days after the Antichrist desecrates the future Jewish temple (as we saw in Part One).
  • Luke 21:34-35
    "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth." (Luke 21:34-35)
    Once again we can see that even though Jesus was talking to the apostles, He was using the word "you" in a general sense. For example, being weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the anxieties of life was not characteristic of the apostles. Jesus was speaking for the benefit of those who will be alive during the Tribulation.
  • Matthew 24:37-42, Luke 17:26-37
    "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." (Matthew 24:37-42)

    "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left." "Where, Lord?" they asked. He replied, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather."" (Luke 17:26-37)
    In these passages, Jesus compared the day of His coming with the days of Noah and Lot. Since He said that one person will be "taken" and another person will be left behind, on the surface it sounds like He was talking about the Rapture. However, there are several things to consider here.

    For example, in the first parable at the top of this article we saw that all of the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation will be "taken" in judgment (through death) after the Second Coming. In the second parable at the top of this article we again saw that all of the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation will be "taken" in judgment (through death) after the Second Coming. In the very last passage at the bottom of this article we'll look at the Sheep and Goats Judgment, which is when all of the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation will be killed after the Second Coming. All of those passages tell us that the unrighteous people will be "taken" in judgment by being killed after the Second Coming, and the righteous survivors of the Tribulation will be left behind on earth. Notice that this is the exact opposite of what will take place at the Rapture.

    The context of Matthew 24 and 25 is all about the Second Coming. In this context, Jesus said that the events at the time of His coming will be the same as the events in the days of Noah and Lot. According to Matthew 24:37-42 (above) and Luke 17:26-37 (above), here are several ways in which the events at the Second Coming will be the same as the events in Noah's day and Lot's day:

    1. The unrighteous people in Noah's time and in Sodom and Gomorrah were unprepared for the coming judgment. They were focused on the activities of daily living, and they never received righteousness through faith.

      The analogy is that the unrighteous people during the Tribulation will be unprepared for the coming judgment. They will be focused on the activities of daily living, and they won't receive salvation through faith.
    2. The unrighteous people in Noah's time and Lot's time did not know when the final judgment (the Flood and the rain of fire) would come. It fell on them so suddenly that they did not have time to do anything to escape their fate.

      The analogy is that the unrighteous people during the Tribulation will not know when the final judgment (the Second Coming) will come. It will fall on them so suddenly that they will not have time to do anything to escape their fate.
    3. The unrighteous people in Noah's time were all "taken" in judgment through death, and the righteous people (Noah and his family) were left behind to re-populate the earth during the next phase of world history. Noah and his family were on top of the water in the ark, but they were still on the earth. They were not "raptured." The unrighteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah were all "taken" in judgment through death, and the righteous people (Lot and his family) were left behind on earth.

      The analogy is that after the Second Coming, all of the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation will be "taken" in judgment through death, and the righteous survivors of the Tribulation will be left behind to re-populate the earth during the next phase of world history (the Millennium).

    These are the ways in which the time of the Second Coming will be like the time of Noah and Lot, according to the above passages.

    Jesus said that the events at the time of the Second Coming will be the same as the events at the time of Noah and Lot, and Jesus specifically said that those who were "taken" in Noah's time and Lot's time were the unrighteous people who were all killed in judgment. In the same way, the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation will be "taken" in judgment after the Second Coming by being killed at the Sheep and Goats Judgment (as we will see). Just as the righteous people in Noah's time (Noah and his family) were left behind to re-populate the earth, the righteous survivors of the Tribulation will be left behind after the Sheep and Goats Judgment to re-populate the earth during the Millennium. Just as judgment happened suddenly and unexpectedly for the unrighteous people in Noah's time and Lot's time, the Second Coming will happen suddenly and unexpectedly for most people during the Tribulation, and therefore Jesus urged the righteous people to "keep watch" and be prepared (Matthew 24:42, above).

    In the above passages, when Jesus said that one person will be "taken," notice that He did not say that the person will rise into the air to meet Him in the clouds, and He did not say that the person's body will be changed from mortality to immortality, and so on. He simply said that some people will be "taken" and other people will be left behind. He was not referring to the Rapture because His analogies of Noah and Lot tell us that those who are "taken" will be killed in judgment.

    Here's an illustration to make this clearer. According to the divorce statistics in America, one out of every two marriages will end in divorce. Therefore we can say, "Two married couples are at a party. One will get divorced, and the other will stay together." Notice that this doesn't mean that one couple will get divorced immediately (while they are at the party). In the same way, Jesus did not specifically say that one man will be "taken" while he is in the field, or that one woman will be "taken" while she is using a hand mill, or that one person will be "taken" while he or she is in bed, or that one woman will be "taken" while she is grinding. Instead, Jesus basically said, "Imagine two people. One of them will be taken, and the other one will be left on earth." The entire context shows that one person will be "taken" in judgment (i.e. the unrighteous person), and the righteous person will be left behind on earth.

    In the above passages (and in the first two parables at the top of this article), the order of events is the exact opposite of the order of events which will happen at the Rapture. When the pre-trib Rapture happens, the righteous people will be taken off of the earth, and the unrighteous people will remain on the earth for the next phase of world history. Since the order of events at the Rapture will be the exact opposite of the order of events at the Second Coming, this shows that the Rapture will not happen at the Second Coming (which disproves the post-trib view of the Rapture).

    When Jesus said that the unrighteous people in Noah's time were "taken" in the Flood (Matthew 24:37-42, above), He used the Greek word airo. But when He said that the man in the field and the woman with the hand mill will be "taken" at the time of the Second Coming, He used the Greek word paralambano. Since the Greek word paralambano is used for the Rapture in John 14:3, the post-trib group argues that the man in the field and the woman with the hand mill will be "taken" in a post-trib Rapture.

    However, notice that Jesus was making a direct comparison in the above passages. In other words, since Jesus said that the people in Noah's time were taken (airo) in judgment by being killed, He was therefore saying that the people at the time of the Second Coming will be taken (paralambano) in judgment by being killed as well. Even though Jesus used two different Greek words (airo and paralambano), this doesn't change the fact that He was making a direct comparison. We can see this clearly if we use an example in English:
    "Back in the Wild West, the sheriff tied up an outlaw on his horse to carry him away to the town jail. It's just like that today when the police handcuff criminals to be taken to prison. When Jesus returns at the Rapture, all Christians will be taken up to meet Him in the clouds."
    In the above example, two different English words are used in a direct comparison between people who are "taken" in judgment. The two words are "away" (which is one of the meanings of the Greek words airo) and "taken" (which is one of the meanings of the Greek word paralambano). This shows that the post-trib argument is false, because the Greek words airo and paralambano (or their English equivalents "away" and "taken") can both be used in a direct comparison of people who are "taken" in judgment.

    In fact, we can demonstrate this even further by noticing that airo and paralambano are both used in the following passage:
    "When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with [airo] him, away with [airo] him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took [paralambano] Jesus, and led him away." (John 19:13-16, KJV)
    In the above passage, notice that the Greek words airo and paralambano are both used in reference to Jesus being taken away to be killed. This further demonstrates that the post-trib argument is false.

    So when Jesus used airo and paralambano concerning the people in the days of Noah and Lot and the people in the days of the Second Coming, all of the evidence indicates that in each case the people are taken in judgment by being killed.

    We can demonstrate this even further because when the disciples asked Jesus where those people will be taken (Luke 17:37, above), Jesus replied, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather." In Part One we saw that our physical bodies will be changed from mortality to immortality at the Rapture, so we won't be leaving our dead bodies behind at the Rapture. Jesus described vultures gathering on the dead bodies of those who are "taken," and therefore those people will be "taken" in judgment by being killed and the vultures will feast on their dead bodies. So once again we can see that Jesus was not referring to the Rapture in the above passages, which further demonstrates that the post-trib argument is false.
  • Mark 13:34-37
    "It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:34-37)
    This parable concerns the owner of a house who goes away and leaves his servants with their assigned tasks, and he tells the one at the door to keep watch. The purpose of this parable (like most of the parables we're about to see) is to emphasize the idea of being watchful and ready for the Lord's return. As in the examples of Noah and Lot (above), the unrighteous people during the Tribulation will not be ready for the Second Coming because they will not receive salvation. Those who are watching and ready will be those who do receive salvation.
  • Matthew 24:43-44
    "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24:43-44)
    This parable says that the owner of a house wouldn't let his house be broken into if he knows when the thief is coming. Once again, the emphasis is on being watchful and ready, and only those who receive salvation will be able to be watchful and ready during the Tribulation.
  • Matthew 24:45-51
    "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 24:45-51)
    This parable is about a faithful servant and a wicked servant. Here the emphasis is on doing works of faith and obedience while waiting for the master's return. Those who don't receive salvation during the Tribulation will not be ready and will not be doing works of faith and obedience, and therefore they will be "taken" in judgment when Jesus returns at the Second Coming (as we have seen).
  • Luke 12:35-48
    "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Peter asked, "Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?" The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:35-48)
    These short parables are similar to some of the parables we've already seen. First, Jesus used the analogy of people at a wedding banquet who are watching and waiting for their master, and once again the emphasis is on being watchful and ready. Next, Jesus used the analogy of the owner of the house who would have protected his house if he had known when the thief was coming, as we saw in Matthew 24:43-44, above. Then Jesus used the analogy of the faithful and wise manager, which is similar to the parable that we saw in Matthew 24:45-51, above.
  • Matthew 25:1-13
    "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." (Matthew 25:1-13)
    This is the Parable of the Ten Virgins, and there's been a lot of speculation about who the "foolish" and "wise" virgins are meant to represent. However, this parable simply distinguishes between those who will be "ready" at the Second Coming (i.e. those who receive salvation), and those who will not be "ready," just as the other parables (above) distinguish between those who will be "ready" and those who will not be "ready." It's important to recognize that this parable is one of a string of parables which Jesus told in order to emphasize being watchful and ready for the Second Coming. The Second Coming is the context for all of these parables, and in all of these parables Jesus was distinguishing between those who will be saved and those who will not be saved during the Tribulation. The Parable of the Ten Virgins is no exception.

    In the above passage Jesus said, "keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour," and therefore some people assume that this must be a reference to the Rapture. But again, the Rapture is not in view anywhere in the "Olivet Discourse" (Matthew 24 and 25). This expression is discussed in the section called "Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32-33" (above).
  • Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27
    "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.' His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.' His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'" (Matthew 25:14-30)

    "While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.' But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.' He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. The first one came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten more.' 'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.' The second came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned five more.' His master answered, 'You take charge of five cities.' Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.' His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?' Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.' 'Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!' He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me.'" (Luke 19:11-27)
    In Matthew 25:14-30 (above), Jesus told the Parable of the Talents, and in Luke 19:11-27 (above), Jesus told the Parable of the Minas. In these parables, the emphasis is on doing works of faith and obedience while waiting for the master's return (as we saw in Matthew 24:45-51, above). Those who do not receive salvation during the Tribulation will not be ready and will not be doing works of faith and obedience, and they will be "taken" in judgment through death after the Second Coming (as we have seen).
  • Matthew 25:31-46
    "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matthew 25:31-46)
    Here we see the Sheep and Goats Judgment, which describes what will happen to the Gentile survivors of the Tribulation after the Second Coming.

    Jesus said that all of "the nations" will be gathered before Him after the Second Coming, and to the Jews, a reference to "the nations" specifically means "the Gentile nations" rather than the single nation of Israel. Then Jesus said that He will separate these Gentile survivors of the Tribulation into two groups. The righteous Gentiles will be on Jesus' right, and He refers to them as "the sheep." The unrighteous Gentiles will be on His left, and He refers to them as "the goats" (which is why this passage is often referred to as "the Sheep and Goats Judgment"). The "sheep" had received salvation and had been doing works of faith and obedience during the Tribulation, just as Jesus described in some of the above parables. However, the "goats" did not do any works of faith and obedience (they were not "watching and ready" because they did not receive salvation), and they will be "taken" in judgment by being killed (Matthew 25:41-46, above). My article called The Second Coming shows that the Jewish survivors of the Tribulation will all receive salvation just before the Second Coming, so they won't take part in the Sheep and Goats Judgment.

Conclusion

In this article we examined the entire "Olivet Discourse," which essentially takes up all of Matthew 24 and 25 (plus the parallel passages in the other Gospels).

We saw that all of the unrighteous survivors of the seven-year Tribulation period will be killed shortly after the Second Coming. They will not take part in the Millennium, when Christ rules on earth for 1,000 years.

The righteous survivors of the seven-year Tribulation period will remain on earth in their mortal bodies after the Second Coming. They will be blessed by being allowed to take part in the Millennium, and they will re-populate the earth for 1,000 years.

Throughout this series we've seen that when the Rapture takes place, our physical bodies will instantly be changed from mortality to immortality. We will no longer be mortal beings, but instead we'll be immortal beings with "glorified" bodies similar to Jesus' body (as we have seen).

The post-trib view says that while Jesus is descending to the earth at the Second Coming, all Christians will be raptured to meet Him in the clouds. But this means that there won't be anyone left alive on earth after the Second Coming to take part in Christ's thousand-year reign on earth. Remember, we've seen that all of the unrighteous survivors of the Tribulation period will be killed shortly after the Second Coming, so if all of the righteous survivors are raptured and changed from mortality to immortality at the Second Coming then there won't be any mortals left alive on earth after the Second Coming. In Part Seven we saw that the raptured Christians will reign on earth in Christ's thousand-year government after the Second Coming, but according to the post-trib view there won't be anyone left alive on earth for us to reign over. This is another reason why the post-trib view is false.

We also saw that the order of events which will happen at the time of the Second Coming will be the exact opposite of the order of events which will happen at the Rapture. This is another reason why the post-trib view is false.


Summary of Prophetic Events

Here's an overview of the end-times prophecies that we have examined in this series:

  1. At any moment, Jesus will come down from heaven as far as the clouds, and He will "snatch up" all Christians (alive or dead) off of the earth to meet Him in the air and take them up into heaven. This is the pre-trib Rapture, and it will only affect those who (during their lifetime) believed in Jesus as their Savior. The dead Christians will be resurrected and their spirits will be re-united with their physical bodies, then all of the raptured Christians will instantly be transformed from mortality to immortality.
  2. At some point after the pre-trib Rapture, Israel will sign a seven-year treaty with a world leader who will turn out to be the Antichrist. This will be the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. The Tribulation does not begin at the moment when the Rapture takes place.
  3. While the events of the Tribulation are taking place on earth, the raptured Christians will go through "the judgment seat of Christ" where they will receive the rewards that they earned based on their actions of faith and obedience while they were on the earth.
  4. The raptured Christians are "the bride of Christ," and the wedding of Christ and His bride will take place in heaven while the Tribulation is raging on earth.
  5. At the mid-point of the seven-year Tribulation, the Antichrist will break his treaty with Israel, and he will desecrate the Jewish temple. He and the False Prophet will institute the "mark of the beast" economic system (which requires everyone to worship him as God), and he will begin a terrible persecution of Christians and Jews. When the Antichrist desecrates the Jewish temple, the Great Tribulation has begun and there are now 1,260 days remaining until the Second Coming.
  6. At the end of the seven-year Tribulation, all surviving Jews will receive salvation and then Christ and His bride will return to the earth at the Second Coming, where Jesus will slaughter all of the armies of the Antichrist and all unbelievers. Some of these things are explained in my article called The Second Coming.
  7. At this point (on the day of the Second Coming), every mortal on earth is saved through faith in Jesus. They will be blessed by being allowed to enter into the Millennial Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and prosperity when Jesus reigns on earth for 1,000 years.


Final Note

Sincere Christians have different views concerning the timing of the Rapture, but we should keep in mind that all Christians will be raptured at the appropriate time no matter what our personal views are concerning the Rapture. If we are caught up to be with Jesus before the seven-year Tribulation period begins, then praise the Lord! But if the Antichrist comes to power before Jesus returns for us then praise the Lord anyway, and let's work together to oppose the Antichrist.

Notice that when the Rapture takes place (whether pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, or something else), we will be "snatched up" off of the earth in an instant, with no effort on our part. Jesus warned us that there will be false Christs who will try to deceive us, so don't believe anyone who says that Jesus is anywhere on the earth (Matthew 24:4-5, 23-27). The Bible specifically says that Jesus will come down as far as the clouds, and He will cause us to rise up to meet Him in the air. Anyone on earth who claims to be Jesus is a liar and a false Christ because Jesus will not set foot on the earth until the Second Coming at the end of the seven-year Tribulation period (as we have seen throughout this series).

In Part Six we examined almost two dozen New Testament passages which describe the Rapture as being imminent, and we saw that many of those passages use the nearness of the Lord's return as an encouragement for proper Christian behavior. The Bible doesn't support an "escapist" mentality. If the Rapture will be pre-trib, as I believe, this doesn't excuse us from being obedient to the Lord and doing the things that He tells us to do.


All for Your glory, Lord Jesus!


Part One    Part Two    Part Three    Part Four    Part Five    Part Six    Part Seven    Part Eight
 
 
 
  Modification History  
 
 

  • 01/02/2010 - Shortened the article a bit. Added some information in the section called "Matthew 24:37-42, Luke 17:26-37." Modified the "Conclusion" section. Added a section called "Summary of Prophetic Events." Modified the "Final Note" section.
  • 11/17/2006 - Modified the sections called "Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32-33" and "Matthew 25:1-13" to explain why these passages are referring to the Second Coming rather than the Rapture.
  • 03/30/2004 - New article.