Is the Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church sound Bible doctrine?

The Rapture, when <br>the dead in Christ shall rise...<br>1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The Rapture, when
the dead in Christ shall rise...
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Rick Brentlinger Answers -


I received some questions recently, which I will answer with a brief overview of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture plus Links for additional study.
A reader wrote: "I was wondering why some evangelical Christians propose this idea regarding the Rapture of the Christian Church (faithful believers in Christ) that supposedly will occur before, during or after Christ returns.

I don't recall reading about this idea from any of the early Church fathers in Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox Christianity before the 19th century.

Have any of the early Church fathers before the 19th century commented on this idea? When I studied about where this idea came from, I read from one scholar that the concept of the Rapture stems from John Darby around 1827. Is this true?"

I believe in
the Pre-Trib Rapture

Throughout church history, beliefs about the end times have varied from (1) a-millenial - most Roman Catholics, to (2) post-millenial - many Puritans and Calvinists, to (3) pre-millenial - some Donatists and Anabaptists, some Puritans, many modern Baptists, Independents and Non-Conformists plus John MacArthur and many Reformed folks, to (4) pre-tribulational - many dispensational Baptists and Independents and Brethren plus eFree churches, to (5) mid-tribulational - some Charismatics including Pat Robertson, to (6) post-tribulational - some Dominionists and Christian Reconstructionists like Rousas Rushdoony, not necessarily in that order.

It is sometimes alleged that belief in the Pre-Trib Rapture, when Jesus comes to take Christians out of the world before the Tribulation starts, only began around 1827 with John Darby or 1830 when Margaret MacDonald, of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Edinburgh, Scotland, had a prophetic vision during the Edward Irving revival.

Contrary to that false assertion, pre-millenial and pre-tribulation beliefs are found throughout Church History, beginning in the Bible in the first century A.D.

Important Rapture Passages

"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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:

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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
-1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, around 51 A.D.
This is the classic passage on the Rapture. Some people say that since the word Rapture doesn't appear in our English Bibles, it couldn't possibly be true. The fact is, Rapture is an English word and English words were not used in the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of our Bible.

Our English word Rapture comes from the Latin Version of the Bible, rapio, rapere, raptus, meaning to be caught up, snatched up, carried away. The Greek word, used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is, harpazo, meaning, to seize, to carry off by force, to eagerly claim for oneself, to snatch away.
""And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying,

Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed US to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made US unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."
-Revelation 5:9-10, around A.D. 95

The twenty four elders and the multitudes they represented ("prayers of the saints") were redeemed to God out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation.

If they were only Old Testament Jews, they could not have been from every kindred, tongue (language), people and nation. Because they were people from around the world, certainly these are Gentiles and not only Jews.

Therefore this verse refers to a Pre-Trib Rapture which caught these Gentile people up to heaven BEFORE the start of the Tribulation.

Most folks who believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture teach that believers from the Church Age are caught up to meet the Lord in the air in Revelation 4:1, "Come up hither", prior to the beginning of the Tribulation.

"All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which over-whelms the world because of our sins." –Attributed to Ephraem the Syrian, A.D. 306-373


Links for Additional Study


Defending the Pre-Trib Rapture - concise and helpful in briefly answering the main arguments.


Why many Christians believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture.


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This page updated on August 20, 2011

Comments for Is the Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church sound Bible doctrine?

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Apr 22, 2011
Thats Wishful thinking
by: Eric

While I agree with the passage:

"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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:

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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
-1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, around 51 A.D.

I totally disagree with your interpretation of it.
The word clouds Check back to the Strongs Concordance under 5971 in your Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary states, it means a people (as a congregated unit); spec. a tribe (as those of Israel); fig. a flock;- folk, men, nation, people.

This occures as Christ is returning to earth AFTER the tribulation, not before. The word of God is clear. Jesus returns ONCE! Just as he was only curcified ONCE. Jesus will not come twice or three times as some believe. Just once! Gods word will never return void. No, Jesus doesn't come and stop half way, collects the dead and leaves again only to return later for the living. He comes ONCE, the Dead in Christ rise first. Then, a monent later, once the dead in Him have been caught up to the "cloud/nation" to be with him those who are alive and remain will be caught up to the "cloud/nation" to be with him. So, clearly we will all be one people a his return. To those of you who think that when the bible speaks of a great falling away in the last days refers to the rapture, you really need to study the Word in the original greek in which it was originally written. The falling away refers soley to rejectin of the Christian faith and the God of Abraham. I know many of you are asking how so many Christians would fall away. That answer is simple. The Church today is more about the acuisition of material wealth than spiritual oneness with God. When the world economic systems fall, and that will be soon, many of those Christians will be asking their pastors why they didn't tell them the truth. They will feel betrayed, not by that pastor who lied, but by God himself.

Apr 22, 2011
Thanks for your input
by: Rick Brentlinger

Hi Eric-

Thanks for your input. In my opinion, your reasoning is not well-supported with scriptures which say what you believe. Without passages which teach only a post-trib rapture, your theory does not have much to hang your hat on.

I am thankful that you are studying the topic and thinking through the issues surrounding the rapture. I commend your zeal and your desire to believe the truth.

I was taught back in the 1970s that there will be three raptures, one pre-trib for church age believers, one mid-trib for people saved during the tribulation and one post-trib for the remnant saved during the great tribulation.

Perhaps if I have time later on, I'll try to sort that out in a post. God bless you brother Eric because you are a blessing.


Jan 01, 2012
Questions
by: Anonymous

1. Is Jesus coming back? John 14:1-4; Acts 1:10-11

2. Where is Jesus now? Acts 2:33,34, 35; Ephesians 2:6

3. Is there going to be a great tribulation? Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:13-14

4. When does Jesus come back, in relationship to the tribulation? Matt 24:29-31; Revelation 19:11ff.

5. What part of the earth does Jesus come back to?
Acts 1:10,11; 12, Zechariah 14:1-4

What does scripture say about Christians facing wrath? 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9

7. How are Christians saved from this coming wrath? Romans 5:9, 17, 10:9-10, 13

Dec 15, 2012
Please do not take this the wrong way.
by: Ismaila Singley

I am a dispensational premillennialist, not a Pre Tribber. I subscribe to the Prewrath view. I suggest reading Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. God bless. :D

Rick's comment: The Pre-Wrath view is the invention of Robert Van Kampen, 1938-1999, and was popularized by Marv Rosenthal. The problem with believing pre-wrath instead of pre-trib is that pre-wrath says the body of Christ will go through 3/4 of the tribulation.

Why pre-wrath rapture teaching is wrong.

Feb 16, 2013
Pretrib Rapture Pride
by: Johnny

You might enjoy Googling "Pretrib Rapture Secrets," "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" and "Pretrib Rapture Pride."

Rick's comment: Anti-rapture arguments from preterists and partial preterists and post-mills and a-mills allegorize the Bible instead of taking it literally using the common sense meaning of words.

Anti-pre-trib rapture researchers like Dave McPherson make many false assumptions, presenting lots of verbiage which does not prove their thesis.

When the blind lead the blind, both fall in the ditch.

Oct 26, 2013
Rapture Stuff
by: Caleb

PRETRIB RAPTURE STEALTH! Many evangelicals believe that Christ will "rapture" them to heaven years before the second coming and (most importantly) well BEFORE Antichrist and his tribulation...

Rick's comment: Hi Caleb. I deleted most of your comment. I don't allow people to post innuendo, false accusations and false teaching on my website. I believe you are being led astray by Calvinists who are either amillenialists or preterists. There are many sound Biblical reasons NOT to follow their false teaching. This is a good introduction to some of the issues involved with preterism.

Preterism Answered.


Dec 17, 2015
more on rapture history
by: Lou

Saw this on the net. MARGARET MACDONALD By Dave McPherson.

Rick's comment: Hi Lou - Thanks for the good question about the origin of the pre-tribulation rapture. I edited your comment to omit Dave McPherson's comments since I do not like to publish false teaching on my website. These links answer Dave McPherson's views.

Answering Dave McPherson

Dave McPhersons's views found wanting

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