Basic Bible Doctrine
One of the most mis-understood doctrines of the Bible is that of the doctrine of the Rapture. The fact that such an event will happen is alluded to in several verses, but specifically mentioned in just a few, chiefly 1 Corinthians 15:52, and 1 Thessalonian 4:17. While it is true
that neither of these verses, or any other for that matter literally mentions "rapture", the Greek word "harpazo" in which we get our "caught up" in 1 Thessalonian 4:17 literally means "to catch away...to be caught up (by force)". It is these verses and others that we get the doctrine of the Rapture.
The fact that Scripture teaches there will be a rapture some day when the Saints are caught up to be with the Lord is pretty easy to establish. WHEN, this rapture will take place has been the subject of many arguments. According to some, this event will happen just prior to the last seven year tribulation period starting. In other words, immediately prior to, or within moments after, the seven year peace treaty with the nation of Israel is signed, Jesus will accend from Heaven and call the Saints up to be with Him. This rapture theory is called “Pre-Tribulation” rapture. Another teaching is that this "rapture" will take place three and one half years into the seven year tribulation period. This teaching is called "Mid-tribulaton" rapture. It is closely associated with another teaching which is called "Pre-wrath" rapture. Both of these teach that the rapture will happen half way through the tribulation period, but prior to the “wrath of God”as mentioned in Revelation 6:17. However, the Mid-tribulation rapture teaching places the rapture slightly before the "pre-wrath" teaching since the "wrath of God" come some time after mid-tribulation. And finally, there is the "Post-tribulation" rapture doctrine which simply state that the rapture will take place at the end of the tribulation period. This is probably the least accepted of the different theories, but does have a pretty large following. There are some good arguing points for each of the different theories, as well as some weak points. Following is a brief breakdown of some of the strong and weak points of each. It should be noted that the writer of this article supports the Mid-Tribulation rapture teaching, for reasons that will be mentioned below.
Mid-tribulationism teaches that the rapture occurs at the midpoint of the tribulation. At that time, the seventh trumpet sounds (Revelation 11:15), the church will meet Christ in the air, and then the bowl judgments are poured upon the earth (Revelation 15—16) in a time known as the great tribulation. In other words, the rapture and Christ’s second coming (to set up His kingdom) are separated by a period of three and a half years. According to this view, the church goes through the first half of the tribulation but is spared the worst of the tribulation in the last three and a half years where it is said "now is come the great day of his wrath, and who shall be able to bear it" (Revelation 6:17). This is very important because in 1 Thess. 1:10 we are told that God will save us "from"His wrath to come".
In support of the mid-tribulationists point of view we look to the chronology given in 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3. Please take a moment and read these verses in your KJV Bible. As you will note, the order of events is as follows: 1) A great Falling away, 2) the revelation of the
Antichrist, and 3) the day of Christ. This is very clear and concise. God's Word gives us two events that MUST happen prior to the rapture taking place. Since we know the anti-Christ is reveled three and one half years into the seven year tribulation, then the rapture CAN NOT take place prior to this. And, since we know that God's "Wrath" or "great tribulation" starts shortly AFTER the anti-christ revels himself, then the rapture must take place shortly thereafter. The mid-tribulational view teaches that the Antichrist will not be decisively revealed until “the abomination that causes desolation” (Matthew 24:15), which occurs at the midpoint of the tribulation (Daniel 9:27). Furthermore, this view looks to Daniel 7:25, which says the Antichrist will have power over the “saints” for three and a half years, being the first half of the tribulation, and that the saints spoken of are the church. Also, it is understood that “the day of Christ” is
referring to the rapture; therefore, the church will not be caught up to heaven until after the Antichrist is revealed three and one half years into the tribulation, and just prior to God's Wrath being poured out upon the earth.
Another foundational teaching of mid-tribulationism is that the trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is the same trumpet mentioned in Revelation 11:15. The trumpet of Revelation 11 is the final in a series of trumpets; therefore, it makes sense that it would be “the last trumpet” of 1 Corinthians 15. However, this is open to some discussion as others see different trumpets and do not agree
that this is the last one
First Thessalonians 5:9 says that the church has not been appointed “to suffer wrath but to receive salvation.” This would seem to indicate that believers will not experience the tribulation. However, mid-tribulationism interprets “wrath” as only referring to the second half of the tribulation—specifically, the bowl judgments.
So, given all of this, Mid-Tribulation Rapture (or pre-wrath) is the only time frame that the rapture could Biblically take place. Since the Rapture has to take place AFTER the Anti-Christ is reveled, Pre-tribulation rapture can not be supported. And, since it has to take place BEFORE God's Wrath comes upon man during the last half of the tribulation, Post-tribulation Rapture
does not hold water either.
In closing however, let me give a bit of warning. Although it is fun to study and discuss WHEN the rapture will take place, it is important to understand that the important thing is not "when" it happens but that you are "ready" when it does. God warns us that in that day, two people will be in the field. One will be taken and the other left. Two will be in bed sleeping, one will be taken and the other left behind. God further warns that when it happens, it will be like a thief in the night, without any warning. So, I would encourage the ready to make sure you are of the faith, that you are truly born again. And, if you are, it won't matter when the rapture takes place because whether you are alive or in the grave, you will be caught up to be with the Lord forever.
Answer the questions below. If you miss a question, go back and study that portion of the class and then retake the test. Once you have received a 100% you may proceed to the next class. You DO NOT have to submit this test for grading. Only the final test will be submitted.