Skip to comments.The Rapture - Part 2 (Dispensational Caucus)
Posted on 06/26/2012 3:01:26 PM PDT by GiovannaNicoletta
My previous article commenced a series of articles on the rapture. We began with the question, "What is the Rapture?" This question can best be answered by noting ten truths about the rapture from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. In this first article, we saw that the rapture is an important doctrine and not something that can be marginalized or explained away as a secondary doctrine. We now move to our second point.
The Rapture Is Distinct from the Second Advent
Second, the rapture will be an event which is distinct from the Second Advent. In other words, the Second Coming of Christ is divided into two phases. There would be part 1 of the Second Coming of Christ and then part 2 of the Second Coming of Christ. After He comes to rescue His church, He will return at the end of the Tribulation period when He brings judgment upon planet earth. Some may think it strange to divide the Second Coming of Jesus Christ into two distinct phases. Interestingly, when we go back into the Old Testament and we study various truths and prophecies related to His First Coming, we very quickly get the idea that different prophecies are saying different things. For example, Isaiah 53 describes the Messiah suffering and dying. On the other hand, Isaiah 9:6-7 describes the Messiah ruling and reigning. How could He come and suffer, and how could He come and rule and reign at the same time? The only way to harmonize these passages is to conclude that there must be two comings of Christ. There must be one coming when He comes and dies to pay the penalty for the sins of the world and another coming of Jesus to rule and to reign. So we can conclude by studying the Old Testament that the coming of Christ takes place in phases. In essence, this same approach leads one to the teaching of the rapture. The New Testament describes the Second Coming of Christ in two different ways. Thus, the only conclusion we can come to is that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will also take place in two phases.
For example, at the rapture Christ will come in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-17). However, in the Second Advent Jesus Christ will come back to the earth (Job 19:25). His feet will physically touch the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-12; Zech. 14:4). At the rapture, Christ will come for His saints. In other words, He will come back for His church (1 Thess. 4:15-17). By contrast, in the Second Advent, He will come back with His saints (Jude 14; Rev. 19:14). Moreover, the rapture will be an event of great blessing. Everybody who is involved in the rapture will be blessed (Titus 2:13; John 14:1-4). Thus, Paul uses this doctrine to comfort the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 4:18). On the other hand, at the Second Advent of Christ there will be tremendous judgment (2 Thess. 1:7-8; 2:8; Isa. 11:4). Revelation 19:15 describes a blood bath as the Christ-rejecting nations of the world will oppose Christ at His Second Advent. Christ will come to defeat and declare victory over them. In addition, when Christ comes in the rapture, it will only affect believers. It will involve Christians, that is those who are in Christ (1 Thess. 4:16). However, when Jesus Christ comes at the Second Advent, His coming will directly impact both believers and unbelievers (Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 19:15).
Another distinction is that the rapture will be an event that is visible only to those that are in Christ (1 Thess. 4:16). Christ will meet believers in the air. However, the Second Advent is something that will be visible to the entire world. "Every eye will see Him" (Rev. 1:7). Another simple distinction is that the rapture will be an event that is announced by an archangel (1 Thess. 4:16). By contrast, the Second Advent of Christ will involve myriads of angels who will accompany Christ as He returns to the earth (Matt. 25:31). In addition, the rapture will be a resurrection. First Thessalonians 4:16 speaks of a resurrection associated with the rapture when it indicates that, "the dead in Christ will rise first." By contrast, at the Second Advent of Christ there will not be an instantaneous resurrection. Finally, when Christ comes at the rapture, He will come to rescue the church (1 Thess. 1:10). However, when He comes in the Second Advent, He will come to rescue Israel (Matt. 23:37-39; 24:31).
As we carefully scrutinize, read, and examine the prophecies related to the return of Christ we see His return described in totally different ways. The only logical conclusion one can reach is that the Second Coming of Christ must occur in two phases. As will be shown later in this series, there must first be a rapture before the Second Advent can occur seven or more years later. This identical logic applies to the Old Testament teaching that the coming of Christ must have two phases as well. He comes to suffer and die (Isa. 53), and then He comes to rule and reign (Isa. 9:6-7). Identically, the New Testament reveals that the Second Coming of Christ also has two distinct phases. Thus, not only is the rapture an important doctrine, but it is also an event that is distinct from the Second Advent of Christ.
I’m very rapt.
What if we meet Him in the air on his way to the ground?
Where does it say that in Scripture?
—Where does it say that in Scripture?—
It doesn’t, one way or another. Rather, I was asking if that would not be possible and still be in line with what scripture says.
The Rapture is not the second coming. The second coming is when Jesus physically returns to earth. He does not return to earth at the Rapture.
I understand. My take is that often the bible makes room for multiple interpretations. After all, even Saul got it wrong and was killing Christians until Jesus set him straight and changed his name. I have no dog in this hunt as I used to get really hung up on this stuff (80’s and 90’s) but now just try to educate myself so I know it when I see it. I was originally a pre-tribulationist, but now lean strongly to mid-trib, also called “post-trib, pre-wrath”.
I’ve heard other theories but no one has ever been able to give Scripture to support anything other than a pre-Trib Rapture.
Like I said, your post produced no Scripture to contradict the Scriptures that promise the Church that it will not go through the judgment that is for those who reject Christ, nor is your post "well -documented".
God returns at the seventh trump, no?
Satan appears at the sixth trump, sixth vial, and sixth seal, to fool those who will believe he is the true God; he is the anti-christ (instead of Christ)and he will deceive the masses.
Are there to be only the two witnesses against him (the anti-christ) during this time? I thought God’s elect were to speak against the anti-christ with the aid of the Holy Spirit speaking through them?
You must have some pull, my link was removed. I don’t understand why that took place. Google Rapture Michael Cordner if you want to read it.
Also, because it is designated a caucus on the RF, non-dispensationalist alternative beliefs must not be mentioned even in reply posts, e.g. Cordner's views. If mentioned, then those posters who hold those views would have an interest in speaking for themselves and the caucus would be broken.
It’s also to provoke Israel to jealousy :)
—Ive heard other theories but no one has ever been able to give Scripture to support anything other than a pre-Trib Rapture.—
Seriously? I used to be pre-trib until I actually started studying it (studying scripture). I consider it the least plausible of the lot, though I admit I could be wrong. There is, however, LOTS of scripture used to support Mid-trib (aka post trib, pre wrath). None of us knows, however. If we keep looking for the signs, we’ll know when it happens.
And let me be the first to expose you to a bible study that DOES use scripture to support something other than Pre-trib. Like me, the author used to be pre-trib:
What is dispensationalism?
What is dispensationalism?
I’m asking because I just saw your post and am still trying to figure out if my post before this one violated any rules.
OK, I just googled it. Based on wikipedia it looks like it is another way of saying pre-tribulationist. Since I disagree and I’m only allowed to post if I agree with the author, I’m outa here.
HAHAHA! Never mind! I should have read closer. According to wiki, “as all dispensationalists hold to premillennialism and most hold to a pretribulation rapture.”
So I get to post here after all.
From what I read there, I AM a dispensationalist, especially since I see our time as phase 5 of god relating to humanity in phases (dispensations), and the bible talks of three other phases.
Phase 1: The garden
Phase 2: After the garden but before the flood
Phase 3: After the flood
Phase 4: Israel and the OT
Phase 5: Jesus, the NT and the age of the Gentiles
Phase 6: The tribulation/wrath period (Daniel’s 70th week)
Phase 7: Jesus’ thousand year reign.
Phase 8: Final battle and eternity.
I also think we know about as much as phases 6 through 8 as the Jews of the OT knew about phase 5. And even Paul, strong in scriptural knowledge, did not understand until his encounter with Jesus.
We do well to not speak our opinion about coming events as though ours is absolutely the only correct interpretation. But one thing we DO know: That we are to read his word, pray, watch and be ready. As Stephen knew what to say when the time came, we will know how to interpret events when they happen.
GiovannaNicoletta, if you wish to narrow the caucus, then in the future - specify a sub-category, e.g. "Pre-Trib Dispensationalist Caucus."
There is no problem at all with speaking our opinions about the fact that Jesus Christ is coming soon, especially if we can validate our opinions with Scripture.
What did Jesus command His children to do? Let's take a look:
And what I say to you I say to all, Watch.
So Christ commands us to watch for His return and He also commands us to comfort each other with the knowledge that we will not be subjected to the seven years of judgment He has for those who have rejected Him:
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
So, as long as a person can support their "opinions" with Scripture, it's perfectly fine to speak those opinions about these imminent events.
And, it's the responsibility of the believer in Christ to get the word out to this dying world that Christ is returning, He is returning soon, He is about to wrap up this current age and the time allotted by God for man to be pardoned and forgiven for sin and be reconciled to the Father and have eternal life is rapidly closing.
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:1-3)
Jesus never gave Christians the option to shut up and let people die and spend eternity in hell.
As long as a person can back up what they say with Scripture, they can tell the entire world what is about to happen.
“He also commands us to comfort each other with the knowledge that we will not be subjected to the seven years of judgment He has for those who have rejected Him”
Jesus said no such thing. You are assuming that the purpose the tribulation is only to execute judgement on those who rejected Him, and assuming that Christians are therefore not going to be subjected to the tribulation. I think you need to take your own advice and support that with Scripture, or else it is only an assumption.
In fact, the Scripture that you posted serves to refute a pre-trib rapture view:
“14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. “
Those who “have fallen asleep” will precede those who are alive at the coming of the Lord. Who are “those who have fallen asleep?
1 Corinthians 15:20 -
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Shows that “those who have fallen asleep” are the dead saints who will be resurrected, for Christ can only be the firstfruits of the saved destined for resurrection. We who are alive can’t preceed them, so any rapture of the living must follow this event. When are the righteous resurrected?
Rev. 20:4-6 -
“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.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
So, here we see the first resurrection, where the righteous are resurrected to reign with Christ during the millenium. There cannot be a resurrection prior to this, or it would be the second resurrection, not the first. Any rapture of the living cannot precede this resurrection, as demonstrated by the previous verses cited.
Also, from these verses we learn that those who are part of the first resurrection “had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands”. So, clearly, at least some of those resurrected must have had the opportunity to worship the beast and receive the mark, otherwise why mention it? Since the beast does not appear until the tribulation is underway, then this is clear evidence that the resurrection must occur after the tribulation is underway, and after the beast has risen to power, made war on the saints, and caused people to receive the mark, as spoked of in Rev 13.
Let me rephrase one thing: when I say the beast doesn’t appear until the tribulation is underway, I should have said the beast doesn’t receive dominion to persecute the saints and force people to receive his mark until the tribulation is underway. The beast might appear in some form before that, but receives that power only during the tribulation.
Nope, not an assumption.
Aside from the fact that all prophecy is written by the Holy Spirit, and since the Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead that includes Jesus Christ, then we can safely state, with no assumptions, that Jesus Christ tells those believers in Him to "comfort one another" with the knowledge that they will not be put through the judgment intended for those who have rejected Him.
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of ones own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1: 20-21)
Now that we have Scripture confirming that all prophecy was written by God and not men, which automatically eliminates the possibility of "assumptions", we can get to the Scriptural proof that the Church will not go through the Tribulation because God's purpose for the Tribulation does not include the Church:
"And the LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today." -Deuteronomy 30:7-8
God's purpose for the tribulation (i.e., the seven-year, 70th week of Daniel) revolves around His plan for Israel and does not include a earthly presence for the church. Why? Because God's plan for Israel is unfinished at this point in history. When the role of the church is completed she will be taken as a completed body to heaven in an instant-at the rapture. This will clear the way for a restoration and resumption of progress toward the completion of our Sovereign Lord's plans for His elect nation-Israel.
The Tribulation Focuses on Israel
The Bible teaches that the tribulation is a time of preparation for Israel's restoration and conversion (Deut. 4:29-30; Jer. 30:3-11; Zech. 12:10).1 While the church will experience tribulation in general during this present age (John 15:18-25; 16:33; 2 Tim. 3:10-13), she is never mentioned as participating in Israel's time of trouble, which includes the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord, and the Wrath of God. Gerald Stanton explains:
"The Tribulation does not deal with the Church at all, but with the purification of Israel. It is not the "time of the Church's trouble," but the "time of Jacob's trouble." The emphasis of the Tribulation is primarily Jewish. This fact is borne out by Old Testament Scriptures (Deut. 4: 30; Jer. 30: 7; Ezek. 20: 37; Dan. 12:1; Zech. 13:8-9), by the Olivet Discourse of Christ (Matt. 24:9-26), and by the book of Revelation itself (Rev. 7:4-8; 12:1-2; 17, etc.). It concerns "Daniel's people," the coming of "false Messiah," the preaching of the "gospel of the kingdom," flight on the "sabbath," the temple and the "holy place," the land of Judea, the city of Jerusalem, the twelve "tribes of the children of Israel," the "son of Moses," "signs" in the heavens, the "covenant" with the Beast, the "sanctuary," the "sacrifice and the oblation" of the temple ritual. These all speak of Israel and clearly demonstrate that the Tribulation is largely a time when God deals with His ancient people prior to their entrance into the promised kingdom. The many Old Testament prophecies yet to be fulfilled for Israel further indicate a future time when God will deal with this nation". (Deut. 30:1-6; Jer. 30:8-10, etc.).2
The Church is Absent from the Tribulation
Not one Old Testament passage on the tribulation refers to the church (Deut. 4:29-30; Jer. 30:4-11; Dan. 8:24-27; 12:1-2), nor does the New Testament ever speak of the church in relation to the tribulation (Matt. 13:30, 39-42, 48-50; 24:15-31; 1 Thess. 1:9-10, 5:4-9; 2 Thess. 2:1-11; Rev. 4-18), except as present in heaven. Such silence speaks loudly and supports the pre-trib position, especially when combined with clear, explicit statements that promise her exemption from that time (Rom. 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; Rev. 3:10). Note the clear promise to the church of Revelation 3:10:
Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth.
If pretribulationism is indeed the teaching of Scripture, then we would expect that passages dealing with the tribulation would consistently make no mention of the church. This is exactly what we find. However, Israel is mentioned often throughout these texts. Dr. Robert Gromacki has studied the New Testament book of Revelation, chapters 4-19, which gives the most detailed overview of the seven-year tribulation in all the Bible. He has shown the following:
"However, there is a strange silence of the term in chapters 4-19. That fact is especially noteworthy when you contrast that absence with its frequent presence in the first three chapters. One good reason for this phenomenon is the absence of the true church and true evangelical churches in the seven years preceding the Second Coming. The true believers of the church have gone into the presence of Christ in heaven before the onset of the events of the seven year period. The church is not mentioned during the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments because the church is not here during the outpouring of these judgments."3
Tribulation on a Christ-Rejecting World
Another purpose for the tribulation is that it is a time of God's wrath upon a Christ-rejecting world and a time of revenge for Gentile treatment of Israel.
Moreover, it is evident that the Tribulation also concerns God's judgment upon Christ-rejecting Gentile nations. Babylon, which "made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication" (Rev. 14:8), shall herself "be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her" (Rev. 18:8). The "cities of the nations" shall fall, after which Satan shall be bound "that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled" (Rev. 20:3). God's judgment falls likewise upon the individual wicked, the kings of the earth, the great, the rich, and the mighty, every bond man and every free man (Rev. 6:15-17). It falls upon all who blaspheme the name of God and repent not to give Him glory (Rev. 16:9). Wicked men, godless nations, suffering Israel--these may all be found in Revelation 6-18; but one looks in vain for the Church of Christ, which is His body, until he reaches the nineteenth chapter. There she is seen as the heavenly bride of Christ, and when He returns to earth to make His enemies His footstool, she is seen returning with Him (I Thess. 3: 13).4
Such a time of judgment does not require the church, who has not rejected Christ, to be present. With the church in heaven during the tribulation, it enables God's focus to be on Israel as His Divine instrument through which He acts. This program was predicted by the Lord before Joshua and Israel ever entered the Promised Land. Notice the predicted pattern:
1)then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. (Deut. 30:3)
2)And the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it . . . (Deut. 30:5a)
3)And the LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. (Deut. 30:7-8)
Zechariah speaks of the Lord's retribution upon the nations as a time when "the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . . in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem." (Zech. 12:8-9) Once again the focus is upon Israel, in this case Jerusalem, not the church.
The book of Revelation provides a graphic depiction of God's judgment upon an unbelieving world, often called "earth dwellers." As God prosecutes His judgment upon the "earth dwellers," John records periodic pauses by our Lord as He evaluates the response of mankind to His judgment before going onto the next phase. It is as if the Lord inflicts a series of judgments and then surveys the landscape to see if, like Ninevah in the days of Jonah, there is repentance so that He can suspend prosecution of the war. Un like Ninevah in the days of Jonah, the "earth dwellers" do not relent in the wake of "the wrath of the Lamb" (Rev. 6:16), so our Lord proceeds to the next phase of His battle. Every step of the way, the "earth dwellers" would "not repent of the works of their hands" (Rev. 9:20) Instead of worshipping Christ, "the earth and those who dwell in it . . . worship the first beast" (Rev. 13:12). Instead of repentance they "blasphemed God" (Rev. 16:21). Finally, "all the nations were deceived" (Rev. 18:23) resulting in the santanic notion that the armies of the world must march against Jerusalem-God's city-and Israel-His people. This results in the basis for the second coming of Christ, which is to resue Israel from the world's armies who are striking out at God by invading His people. Such a scenario does not demand or require the church and so she will not be there. We can see that the purpose of the tribulation revovles around God's plan for Israel, not the church.
Only pretribulationism is able to give full import to tribulation terms like "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7), as a passage specifically stating that the tribulation is for Jacob (i.e., Israel). John Walvoord concludes,
"Never are tribulation saints given the special and perculiar promises given to the church in the present age. The nature of the church in contrast to Israel therefore becomes an argument supporting the pretribulation viewpoint".5
Since God's purpose for the tribulation is to restore Israel (Jer. 30:3, 10) and judge the Gentiles (Jer. 30:11), it is clear that this purpose does not include the church. This is one of the reasons why she will be taken to heaven before this time. The church's hope is a heavenly one, not participation in the culmination and restoration of God's plan for His earthly people-Israel. Maranatha! W
1 These arguments are adopted from John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), pp. 270-71.
2 Gerald B. Stanton, Kept From The Hour: Biblical Evidence for the Pretribulational Return of Christ, 4th edition (Miami Springs, FL: Schoettle Publishing Company, 1991), pp. 35-36.
3 Robert Gromacki, "Where is 'The Church' in Revelation 4-19?" in Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, editors When The Trumpet Sounds (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1995), p. 355.
4 Stanton, Ibid., p. 36.
5 Walvoord, Ibid., p. 65.
So, it appears that, according to the Word of God, those who know Christ as Savior will not go through the Tribulation.
“we can safely state, with no assumptions, that Jesus Christ tells those believers in Him to “comfort one another” with the knowledge that they will not be put through the judgment intended for those who have rejected Him.”
But, Jesus doesn’t say that. You put a partial quote from Jesus in front of your own words. That is not Scripture.
“The Tribulation Focuses on Israel”
Sure, but this does not mean that the church plays no part.
“While the church will experience tribulation in general during this present age (John 15:18-25; 16:33; 2 Tim. 3:10-13), she is never mentioned as participating in Israel’s time of trouble, which includes the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord, and the Wrath of God.”
First of all, we should not expect every verse detailing Israel’s time of trouble to talk about the church. Most of the verses dealing with this subject are from the Old Testament, and there are very few references to the church in the Old Testament, and the ones that are there are veiled. So, an absence of references there is not evidence at all of the church’s absence during the tribulation, any more than the absence of verses there about the church is evidence that Messiah would not found a church. This is a fallacy called “argument from silence”.
Now, when it comes to the New Testament, where we would expect the church to be referenced, you say:
“nor does the New Testament ever speak of the church in relation to the tribulation (Matt. 13:30, 39-42, 48-50; 24:15-31; 1 Thess. 1:9-10, 5:4-9; 2 Thess. 2:1-11; Rev. 4-18), except as present in heaven.”
Which is not true at all. There are many references to the church during the tribulation. For example:
In Luke 21, when Christ tells the disciples of the final destruction of the Temple, they ask when those things will happen:
“7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.”
Then, he goes on to continue to describe many signs of the coming tribulation, and tells them further that:
“12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.
18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
So, clearly the church will be present during these events, because we will be persecuted, and it will be required for us to give a testimony. The last verse I quote specifically states this is a reference to the days of vengeance, so how much clearer can it be what time Christ is referring to?
We can also refer to verses 26-28:
“26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Since men will see the coming of the Son of Man (Christ), this cannot be an invisible return, as the pre-trib rapturists postulate. In verse 28, Christ tells the faithful to lift up their heads and look up, for their redemption is here. One cannot “look up” at Christ returning in the clouds, if one is in heaven, so clearly, Christ is speaking of the church that is on earth, to witness his visible return. Also, if they were already raptured, their redemption would not be “nigh”, it would have already been accomplished.
I could cite more verses like this, but I don’t think it’s necessary, since these are clear as day.
Now, let’s turn to your interpretation of this verse from Rev 3:
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth.”
Notice, that this verse doesn’t say he will keep us from the tribulation, or from the week, or seven years of testing, but only the “hour of testing”. It’s only an assumption that the “hour of testing” is equivalent to the entire period of the tribulation. Does the text bear that assumption out?
“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.”
Here we see that the beast makes war on the saints, during the tribulation. The beast is not in heaven at this time, so the saints he is warring with must be on earth. These cannot be resurrected, heavenly saints, because he would not be able to overcome them. Who are the saints?
The answer is in Rev 14:12 -
“12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”
Those that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus are Christians, aka the church, not rebellious Israel who have rejected Christ.
So, there is no silence between chapters 4 and 19, the church is right there.
Now, when you speak of God judgement on the world and the nations, you say:
“Such a time of judgment does not require the church, who has not rejected Christ, to be present.”
Yet, the verses I quote earlier in Luke show that this time does require the church, because we will be required to provide a testimony during this time, before men, on earth.
“Only pretribulationism is able to give full import to tribulation terms like “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), as a passage specifically stating that the tribulation is for Jacob (i.e., Israel).”
This is not a very good argument, in my opinion. How does the meaning of Jacob’s trouble change, whether the church is present or not? Nothing in the Bible requires that the church be gone in order for the Lord to redeem Israel. In fact, most of the verses in the Old Testament and the New Testament dealing with Israel’s redemption show that the holy remnant plays a key part. Who is the holy remnant?
Rom 11:5-6 -
“5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”
So, this holy remnant of Israel is according to the election of grace, not by works. They cannot be Jews who are following the Old Testament laws and sacrificing in the temple, but rather they must be Christians, for only Christians can receive grace through faith in Christ. The holy remnant of Israel was, in Paul’s day, already part of the church, and will be so in the days of the tribulation as well.
There was a resurrection prior to this. That was the resurrection of Christ. Those who have part in the first resurrection have part in Christ's resurrection.
Yes, of course Christ was resurrected first, but that was a specific resurrection of one man, not a general resurrection event, as are the two resurrections referred to in the rest of the NT.
We are in good company with the early believers who looked for the redemption of the church to happen even in their day. Little did they know, nearly two thousand years would pass before it occurred. Yet, as they, so we have that as our "blessed hope" that we WILL be with the Lord for eternity. I had a professor in college (back in the early 70's) who said he did not have a sense that the Lord would come back in his own lifetime, but that he believed it WOULD happen sooner rather than later. He based this belief mainly because of the remarkable reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 and their regaining of land in 1967. This wonderful man of God has died, so his intuition was correct concerning himself, but I DO fully expect to be here for the Rapture and I wake up every day with the thought that, TODAY, could be the day. Thanks for posting this series.
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When I say general resurrection, I don’t mean the resurrection of everyone, simply a resurrection of many. I’m not sure what you mean by saying “Christ” is the first resurrection. Clearly the verse is talking about plural people being resurrected. There are thrones, not a throne, they, not he, etc. If you mean that this is the resurrection of the church, being in Christ, then it amounts to the same thing that I am saying.
As for the second resurrection, yes, you could call it the resurrection of the unjust, contrasted to the resurrection of the just referred to in Luke, which I think is the first resurrection. I believe it’s sensible to refer to them as dead, since verse 5 says “the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were finished”. John’s just using the same word to refer back to who he mentioned in the earlier verse. It doesn’t mean that they are in the grave, but that they were dead, and now live again, standing before Christ for judgement.
Also, note that even though these events are termed “resurrections”, that probably doesn’t mean everyone involved has suffered a physical death. Those who are redeemed by grace, but still alive at the time of the first resurrection will surely take part in it without dying, and those who are alive but unredeemed at the time of the second resurrection wouldn’t avoid judgement simply because they didn’t die. I think they are termed resurrections simply because the defining feature of the event is a mass resurrection, even if the living are taking part as well.
Wow! Great links. Thanks
John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.This is a verse that I wonder about. Could the ascension be the second resurrection?
But not everyone will follow him. Some of those people we have witnessed to and pray for WILL finally believe as they remember what we told them concerning this happening. Many books and such will further compel them to finally believe but they will be persecuted along with believing Israel and many will be martyred. When Revelation talks about those slain for the testimony of Christ and who did not take the mark of the Beast, it is those people being spoken of. Yet the "church" - those who are in Christ and who are taken up in the Rapture, will NOT be those left behind to go through the Tribulation. Over and over God calls it the "Time of Jacob's Trouble" and as GiovannaNicoletta said, this is NOT for the Bride of Christ to endure.
In I Thess. 4, those who "have fallen asleep" that Jesus brings back with him, are those believers who have died and who have been in heaven with the Lord. They do not as yet have their glorified bodies (resurrection body) but they descend with Jesus (their spirits/souls) and their bodies upon the earth rise up to meet their spirits and are changed into glorified bodies as are ours as we also rise up with them to meet the Lord in the air and "so shall we ever be with the Lord". In I Thess. 5, the Tribulation has begun and it is AFTER the Rapture. Those spoken of here are the Jews who will be persecuted with new believing Gentiles. There IS no mention of the "church" after chapter 4 in the narrative. There is a sequence of events and players within those events but it can be confusing about who is what if we don't separate the "church" from believers after the Rapture during the Trib. Go back and read I Thessalonians 4 and 5 together. Chapter four is talking to believers (the church) and chapter 5 is talking to believers who go into the Tribulation.
That verse, of course would contradict this one:
Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 1 (Revelation 3:10)
The original Greek used in that passage is "ek" which means "out of", not "through". Christ tells us there that those who have kept His word, which includes the salvation Scriptures, will be kept out of, not through the "time of testing" that will come on the world.
If the Church is to go through the seven year wrath that God says is for those who reject Him, then God has given us that information somewhere in Scripture.
There will be multitudes saved during the Tribulation, who were not taken at the Rapture because they were not saved at that time. They are identified as those who come out of the Tribulation, literally, The Tribulation, the great one. These are martyrs killed in the last half of the Tribulation during the reign of the beast as depicted in Revelation 13. We are given Scriptural contrasts between those who will be saved during the Tribulation, and Church-age saints:
So we see where Scripture makes distinctions between those who are raputred before the Tribulation, and those who come to Christ during the Tribulation. Two different groups of people, with two different positions in Heaven.
Then there's the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, which Scripture tells us will take place in Heaven during the Tribulation, but, if the Church won't be in Heaven during the Tribulation, then that Scripture has to be false:
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! And he added, These are the true words of God. (Revelation 19:7-9)
The bridegroom at this marriage is Jesus Christ. From many verses in scripture we know that Jesus is the lamb, and in John 3:29, John refers to Jesus as the bridegroom. The identity of the bride is found in Ephesians 5:32 where Paul likens the husband in a relationship to Christ and the wife to the Church. 2 Corinthians 11:2 also says, I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.
In Revelation 19:9 we also find that there will be guests at this marriage. The guests cant be the Church because the bride is never considered a guest. From John the Baptist, who lived before the death and resurrection of Christ, we know that he was a friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29). The Old Testament saints and those who lived before Christs sacrifice but had faith in God are the friends of the bridegroom that make up the guests who are honored and blessed to be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. This does not mean the Old Testament saints are somehow inferior to the Church. These saints will also have promises fulfilled and enjoy a special relationship with the Lamb that we will not share in. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is simply a special blessing reserved for the Church. Again, if the Church is on earth during the Tribulation, then this Scripture is false and God has lied to us here.
There are more Biblical proofs that the Rapture occurs before the Tribulation:
So in light of all the Scripture that tells us that those who know Christ as Savior will not go through the judgment and wrath He has reserved for those who reject Him, I'm going to need the Scripture from you where Christ says that His bride will go through that judgment and wrath.
We have seen all of your denials of these Scriptures which emphatically state that the bride will not go through the Tribulation. Now I need to see where Jesus Christ contradicts Himself and says that the bride will go through the Tribulation.
You’re on the list, boatbums!
Psalms 27:5 - For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
—There is no problem at all with speaking our opinions about the fact that Jesus Christ is coming soon, especially if we can validate our opinions with Scripture. —
I strongly agree with that. I’ll add a caveat, though: for some, they think their “interpretation” of scripture is scripture itself and defend it accordingly.
I moved from Seattle to the bible belt last year and now attend a small “Babdis” church. I was asked to teach a class and when we were done with the lesson the subject some how turned to where non-believers will spend eternity.
I told them my opinion, and that it was only an opinion (that those that don’t receive eternal life are, by definition, not alive. Therefore they will not be aware of their eternal punishment, but the punishment (apart from God) will be eternal.
Well, a man in the church that it soon became clear was one of the “important” members didn’t just argue the point. Rather, he vehemently argued it. And when he talked about the bible using the phrase “eternal punishment” he said “punishment hurts physically, therefore they will feel the pain and it will never end, including their awareness of it.” And then he slapped his bible and said “I don’t go by my opinion. I go by the word of God.” I didn’t bother to ask him why we “punish” our children and what is its purpose. We went in other directions but it was a fascinating back and forth.
What I’ve noticed is that there are those who treat every little belief they have, even when they are mere cultural beliefs disguised as “Christian” beliefs, as though it was as obvious and foundational as the death and resurrection. It’s one reason my county is still dry even though Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into fermented wine. ;-)
But cracks are forming, thank God.
And I agree with you. The bible gives us knowledge and wisdom that we are to share with the world - to the day He returns.
—Jesus never gave Christians the option to shut up and let people die and spend eternity in hell.—
I will add a caveat to that as well. He never told us to keep beating our heads against the wall with the same people (it often ends in endless arguments and “gotcha” attitudes). I take my example from the “shake the dust off your feet” instruction in scripture.
“Remember that even when the “church” is taken out at the Rapture, there will STILL be people coming to saving faith in Christ during the Tribulation. It will be the Jews but also Gentiles will believe. This means that Christians WILL be in the Tribulation but only those that become believers AFTER the Rapture happens.”
The problem with this is, the pre-tribbers say that while people are being saved on earth during the tribulation, the church is having its wedding feast without them. So, those people won’t get to be part of the bride of Christ under that scenario. The only scenario that leads to a unity of believers is if the wedding feast happens after ALL the
believers are redeemed, at the first resurrection.
“In I Thess. 4, those who “have fallen asleep” that Jesus brings back with him, are those believers who have died and who have been in heaven with the Lord. They do not as yet have their glorified bodies (resurrection body) but they descend with Jesus (their spirits/souls) and their bodies upon the earth rise up to meet their spirits and are changed into glorified bodies as are ours as we also rise up with them to meet the Lord in the air and “so shall we ever be with the Lord”. “
How can they receive “resurrection bodies” without a resurrection? If there is a resurrection before the tribulation, then why is the resurrection that occurs later called the first resurrection, and not the second?
“In I Thess. 5, the Tribulation has begun and it is AFTER the Rapture.”
That’s a non sequiter. There’s no reason to read Thessalonians as some sequential series of events. If that were a fair assumption, then we could look at later verses, such as chapter 5, verse 8, and say that we are being admonished to be sober, after the tribulation has begun. So, that bad assumption can cut both ways.
“There IS no mention of the “church” after chapter 4 in the narrative.”
This statement is valid only if you are already determined that those who are called saints, and who believe in Jesus, are not necessarily part of the church. I, on, the other hand, believe in a universal church of all believers.
There is absolute truth, which is given by God, and then there are the opinions of fallen, sinful men which vary from person to person and can cause people to deceive themselves into thinking that they are okay with God when they are not.
I'll take, for example, your opinion that people who do not accept Christ as Savior and therefore, because of that choice, do not have eternal life, are not aware of their eternal punishment. This is in contradiction to the word of God. In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, we know that the rich man, who was in hell, requested that Lazarus be sent to cool his tongue with a drop of water to lessen his agony in this fire. The rich man also asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to warn his brothers to repent so that they would never join him in hell.
From this Biblical account, we know that those in hell will be perfectly conscious, will know exactly where they are, will feel the torment they are experiencing, and have regrets about their destiny.
The punishment of the wicked dead in hell is described throughout Scripture as eternal fire (Matthew 25:41), unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:12), shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2), a place where the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44-49), a place of torment and fire (Luke 16:23-24), everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9), a place where the smoke of torment rises forever and ever (Revelation 14:10-11), and a lake of burning sulfur where the wicked are tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).
The punishment of the wicked in hell is as never ending as the bliss of the righteous in heaven. Jesus Himself indicates that punishment in hell is just as everlasting as life in heaven (Matthew 25:46). The wicked are forever subject to the fury and the wrath of God. Those in hell will acknowledge the perfect justice of God (Psalm 76:10). Those who are in hell will know that their punishment is just and that they alone are to blame (Deuteronomy 32:3-5).
It is very dangerous to substitute our own opinions for the truth of Scripture and God will hold those who do it responsible for the consequences of elevating his or her own flawed, mostly wrong, opinions over the revealed, inerrant word of the living God.
Scripture is the final authority on any subject that it covers. If an opinion is in direct opposition and contradiction to the word of God, then it is the opinion that is wrong and needs to be changed, not the Scripture changed to fit the opinion.
And believers in Christ are to spread the gospel until they are removed at the Rapture. After that, we are told by God, the responsibility for preaching the gospel is turned over to the 144,000 Jewish witnesses (Revelation 7, Revelation 14) and angels (Revelation 14) who will spread the news of salvation through out the world. Since the church has been removed, God hands the job of the church over to those listed in the Revelation Scriptures.
But I do agree that eventually the time does come to, like Jesus told us, shake the dust off our feet and move on.
—There is absolute truth, which is given by God, and then there are the opinions of fallen, sinful men which vary from person to person and can cause people to deceive themselves into thinking that they are okay with God when they are not. —
—I’ll take, for example, your opinion that people who do not accept Christ as Savior and therefore, because of that choice, do not have eternal life, are not aware of their eternal punishment. This is in contradiction to the word of God.—
You mean, your interpretation. You see, I acknowledge that mine is but my opinion. But so is your position.
—In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, we know that the rich man, who was in hell, requested that Lazarus be sent to cool his tongue with a drop of water to lessen his agony in this fire. The rich man also asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to warn his brothers to repent so that they would never join him in hell. —
But what is the parable actually about? Who is the audience?
Here is a good analysis: http://www.jeremyandchristine.com/articles/lazarus.html
The key here is not that you have scripture and I don’t. Rather it is that we BOTH have scripture but are interpreting it differently.
Ultimately, we are two guys with different opinions who’s opinions can both be supported by scripture to one degree or another. For what it’s worth, I used to take your position, though it did seem to contradict the loving, yet just, nature of God.
I could be wrong, and so could you. But I am doing my best to interpret it based on what the bible teaches (as well as my relationship with Him) about the personality of God that we can apply to the individual events, stories and teachings.
The result is that you and I come away with different interpretations of what is meant by “eternal damnation”.
The problem with this is, the pre-tribbers say that while people are being saved on earth during the tribulation, the church is having its wedding feast without them. So, those people wont get to be part of the bride of Christ under that scenario. The only scenario that leads to a unity of believers is if the wedding feast happens after ALL the believers are redeemed, at the first resurrection.
That is correct, there are some believers, depending upon when they came to saving faith who are called by various names in Scripture. The "Bride of Christ" consists of all those who have received Jesus Christ as savior during the "church" age. The redeemed of Israel who had died before the coming of Christ are called the "Wife of Jehovah" and those who get saved after the Rapture will STILL be in Heaven, but they are not participants in the Marriage Feast of the Lamb since it is happening during the Tribulation. Revelation 20:6 says, "Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them". So, "sharing in the first resurrection" is the key and doesn't necessarily mean this "first" resurrection happens for everyone all at the same time. Those who are resurrected at the Rapture share in Christ's resurrection with those who have died before and those who die, or go into the Millennium alive that are saved also take part, or share, in that first resurrection. The "Second Death" has no power over anyone who has shared in the first resurrection.
Resurrection "bodies" will be given to those who are taken up in the Rapture as well as those who died during the Tribulation as Revelation 20:4 says. The living saved (those who escaped death) go into the Millennium in their human bodies. They continue to bear children, and those children must still choose to believe on and follow Jesus Christ, who will be ruling and reigning on earth in total righteousness and justice. That is where all those people come from that rebel against Christ at the end of the thousand years when Satan is loosed. They are the offspring of the saved living who go into the Millennium.
Thats a non sequiter. Theres no reason to read Thessalonians as some sequential series of events. If that were a fair assumption, then we could look at later verses, such as chapter 5, verse 8, and say that we are being admonished to be sober, after the tribulation has begun. So, that bad assumption can cut both ways.
Actually, it is not. There are no chapter and verse separations in Scripture. They were added by the translators. So Paul is speaking of sequences of events from what he says in chapter 4 and then what is going to happen in chapter 5. He, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is speaking to believers who could be in one or the other circumstance. In I Thess. 4, he is consoling Christians about loved ones who have died and he reveals what will happen when the Rapture comes. In chapter 5 he is talking about the "Day of the Lord". Some people had already quit their jobs and were sitting around waiting for Christ to come back putting a burden on others to feed them and their families. Paul wanted to comfort them to know that:
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (I Thess. 5:4-11)
It is in Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians, that he speaks about it some more. Some people had unsettled them with rumors that Christ had already come back and they were left behind. Paul tells them in II Thess. 2:1-12
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from uswhether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Dont let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in Gods temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Dont you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Then in verses 13-14, he consoles them with:
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This says to me that Paul knew that the Rapture, when it came - and even he did not know when it would happen - true believers in Christ would NOT be left behind to suffer the tribulation under the anti-christ.
As to the "universal" body of believers, I, too, believe in such and it spans all the generation since Christ until the Rapture happens. It is a special group called the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ, but it is distinct from the Old Testament believers as well as the Tribulation believers. We WILL all be joined with God in Heaven and our reward will be an eternity with our Creator and Savior.
How can they be part of the Church after God the Holy Spirit is removed from the Body of believers? The Church Age will have ended at the Rapture, prior to the Great Tribulation, although there will still be believers.
“How can they be part of the Church after God the Holy Spirit is removed from the Body of believers?”
The Bible never says the Holy Spirit will be removed. Pre-tribbers assume this, but the Bible doesn’t say it. If the Holy Spirit is God, and God is omnipresent, then how can the Holy Spirit be removed?
7: Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8: If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9: If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10: Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
“The Church Age will have ended at the Rapture, prior to the Great Tribulation...”
This is another assumption, which I don’t accept, so you’re not going to convince me of anything simply by restating it. Jesus told us that His return would be visible, after the tribulation had begun, and that we should look up to the heavens, for our redemption would be nigh. That’s clear evidence that we will be on Earth to witness His visible return, along with the rest of mankind who is alive at the time.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
“That is correct, there are some believers, depending upon when they came to saving faith who are called by various names in Scripture. The “Bride of Christ” consists of all those who have received Jesus Christ as savior during the “church” age. The redeemed of Israel who had died before the coming of Christ are called the “Wife of Jehovah” and those who get saved after the Rapture will STILL be in Heaven, but they are not participants in the Marriage Feast of the Lamb since it is happening during the Tribulation.”
So, your assertion is that God has two wives?
18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.
Is a bethrothal faithful if one party takes another to wed?
“Revelation 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them”. So, “sharing in the first resurrection” is the key and doesn’t necessarily mean this “first” resurrection happens for everyone all at the same time.”
The first resurrection is instantaneous, so it must happen at the same time for everyone:
1 Corinthians 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.
“The living saved (those who escaped death) go into the Millennium in their human bodies.”
See above... “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed”
“That is where all those people come from that rebel against Christ at the end of the thousand years when Satan is loosed. They are the offspring of the saved living who go into the Millennium.”
No, they are those who were never allowed in the New Jerusalem in the first place.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Those who are outside the city (the four quarters of the earth) will be gathered for the final battle:
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
“Actually, it is not. There are no chapter and verse separations in Scripture. They were added by the translators. So Paul is speaking of sequences of events from what he says in chapter 4 and then what is going to happen in chapter 5.”
There is no relation to the fact that the verse and chapter numbering was added later, and the fact that not everything in the Bible is sequential. There are many places in the Bible, especially in prophecy, where events are not described sequentially. They must be read in context, you cannot assume a sequence without evidence.
“This says to me that Paul knew that the Rapture, when it came - and even he did not know when it would happen - true believers in Christ would NOT be left behind to suffer the tribulation under the anti-christ.”
That’s not what Paul says though, it’s what you are reading into Paul’s words. Yes, he is telling them that the day of the Lord has not yet come, in order to console them that they haven’t “missed the boat”. He clearly states that the man of perdition must be revealed first, which we know is going to happen during or after the tribulation. This is a sign for them to watch for, which would be pointless if they would already be raptured out of the way.
Pre-tribbers say that the rapture comes years before the day of the Lord, but if that were so, then why would the church be worried that the day of the Lord had already come and they had missed it? Wouldn’t they instead be worried that the rapture had come and they had missed it? The very fact that they were worried about missing the day of the Lord shows that they had been instructed that these events were in close proximity, if not synonymous.
“As to the “universal” body of believers, I, too, believe in such and it spans all the generation since Christ until the Rapture happens. It is a special group called the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ, but it is distinct from the Old Testament believers as well as the Tribulation believers.”
Are we not all branches of the same olive tree?
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
We of the church are not the root, we are but grafted branches. So, how can we think to separate ourselves from the natural branches? We partake in the rewards promised to them first!
How can we be separated then, as to one group being the Bride of Christ, and the other the Bride of God? Is there a separate salvation for us, one from Christ, and one from God?
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
We are all justified by faith in Christ, Jew and Gentile, Israel, and the Church. So, if we are all redeemed by Christ, then we are all His bride.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Notice the bride wears the righteousness of the saints as her clothing. Are the saints only the church? Even pre-tribbers can’t argue that, since there are saints during the tribulation, and there are saints in the Old Testament before the “church age” begins. All who have faith in Christ are one, and we all share the same promises:
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
How much clearer can it get? There is one seed that receives the promises, united in Christ. This is why those in the Old Testament are saints, those in the New Testament are saints, those in the tribulation are saints, and those at the wedding feast are saints.