The Pre-Tribulation Rapture (Part 1)


Many Christians argue that the doctrine of the Rapture is not important because it has very little or nothing to do with one’s salvation. This is not entirely true. Although belief or non-belief in the doctrine of the Rapture do not constitute whether one is saved or not (faith alone in the finished work of Christ on the cross constitutes salvation – Mark 16:16; Acts 16:31; Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:8), it does have a considerable bearing on your hope in a world that is exponentially falling ever deeper into an abyss of godlessness and anarchy. Moreover, the Rapture encapsulates to perfection the saints’ uttermost salvation (Hebrews 7:25).

Whenever the Bible speaks of hope it very often does so in reference to the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 1:1-3; 1 Peter 1:13; Titus 2:13). One of the most important duties of a child of God, apart from his responsibility to preach the unadulterated Word of God so that lost sinners may be saved, is to watch in preparedness for the coming of the Lord at the Rapture. This is the glorious hope of all believers who love his appearing at the Rapture (2 Timothy 4:8).

Reformed theologians (Calvinists), who uphold Augustine’s a-millennial view of God’s Kingdom on earth (and hence the Roman Catholic exposition of the Millennial Kingdom) as he explicated it in his book “The City of God,” believe that the Millennial Kingdom is not a literal 1000 years with Christ reigning from the throne of his father David in Jerusalem (Luke 1:31-32) but a symbolic one.

The little more than 2000 years that have elapsed since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus are symbolic of the reign of Christ in heaven together with his church on earth, they dare say. J Dwight  Pentecost says the following of the decline of Premillennialism In his book “Things to come:”

With the rise of Romanism, committed to the idea that their institution was the Kingdom of God, premillennialism declined rapidly. Auberlen says:

Chiliasm disappeared in proportion as Roman Papal Catholicism advanced. The Papacy took to itself as a robbery that glory which is an object of hope, and can only be reached by obedience and humility of the cross. When the church became a harlot, she ceased to be  a bride who goes out to meet her bridegroom; and thus Chiliasm disappeared. This is the deep truth that lies at the bottom of the Protestant, anti-papistic interpretation of the Apocalypse. (Cited by GNH Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, I, 499).

Peters observes:

It may then be briefly stated as a self-evident fact, that the entire spirit and aim of the Papacy is antagonistic to the early church view, being based on coveted ecclesiastical and secular power, on extended jurisdiction lodged in the hands of a Pri­mate. . . . when a system was founded which decided that the reign of the saints had already begun-that the Bishop of Rome ruled on earth in Christ’s place; that the deliverance from the curse would only be effected in the third heaven; that in the church, as a Kingdom, there was “an aristocracy” to which un­hesitating obedience must be rendered; that the prophetical an­nouncements respecting Messiah’s Kingdom were fulfilling in Romish predominance, splendor, and wealth; that the rewarding and elevation of saints was not dependent upon the Sec. Advent, but upon the power lodged in the existing Kingdom, etc., etc.,- then it was that Chiliasm, so distasteful and obnoxious to these claims and doctrines, fell beneath the powerful and world-per­vading influence exerted against it. (GNH Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, I, 521)

John Calvin, who ruled Geneva with a popish iron fist was heavily influenced by Augustine and also had visions of God’s Kingdom already being on the earth where everyone (man, woman and child) lived according to the will of God. Unfortunately, the Geneva burghers were placed under heavy duress to do God’s will according to the Geneva Pope, John Calvin, and many lost their lives because they failed to comply with Calvin’s will. He defined the Kingdom as follows:

“God reigns where people have promised/submitted themselves to his righteousness/sovereignty by striving for the heavenly life through self-denial and contempt for the world and their life on earth. The kingdom thus consists of two aspects, namely that God is to change our evil desires through his Spirit, and that God is to reform our senses so that we can obey his sovereignty.” (Inst. 3.20.42). “The kingdom of God is where God reigns supreme through his Spirit.” (Catechism, 269 – see Calvin (1981)

God does not reign where people have promised to submit themselves to God’s righteousness and sovereignty. That’s pure nonsense. The Israelites promised Moses to do everything God commanded them but failed dismally (Exodus 19:8; Jeremiah  42:6)).

Note very carefully that Calvin does not say that repentance and faith toward Christ and his Gospel are the two main prerequisites to enter into God’s Kingdom. Such a view would have compromised his stance on predestination and election.

The two main conditions are, according to Calvin, a monergistic regeneration when God changes the elect’s evil desires through his Spirit (unconditional election) and when he reforms their senses to obey his sovereignty (which effectively discards free-will).

God does not rule where peoples’ god-given freewill is abused and dictatorial decrees force them to submit to his sovereignty. His kingdom is one of righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17) where everyone willingly, obediently and out of love for God the Trinity do his will (Matthew 6:10).

Calvin believed that his Geneva Vatican was the ideal Kingdom of God where He reigned supreme, even though it was necessary to compel the inhabitants, by decree, to live in complete submission to the sovereignty of God.

These decrees included bizarre rules and regulations that ranged from how high women ought wear their hair to how many kitchen utensils they were allowed to use on their tables. With Augustine he rejected the doctrine of a future thousand years of peace (chiliasm) as a “childish” idea (Inst. 3.25.5) (Quistorp, 1941:161-166).

Augustine’s and Calvin’s eschatological views are still in vogue, not only in the reformed churches but also in the Emergent church.

Pre-Trib, Mid-Trip or Post-Trib?

Shortly before his departure to be with the Lord a good friend and brother of mine in Christ sent me a couple of articles on the Rapture written by reformed theologians to which I commented as follows:

It is rather curious that everyone who rejects the doctrine of a Pre-Trib Rapture and sticks to a Mid-Trib ofr Post-Trib  or even no Rapture at all feels compelled to associate Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4: 17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” with some kind of a Rapture.

How else are they going to explain the magnanimous phenomenon of being caught up to meet our Lord and Saviour in the air? The main reason why most Christians hold to a Mid-Trib and/or a Post-Trib Rapture is because they fail to distinguish between the persecution of the Body of Christ (all believers) and the wrath of God that’s coming upon the entire world (Revelation 3:10).

Indeed, there are passages in Scripture where our Lord describes how Christians are going to be persecuted and slaughtered during the seven year tribulation period and in particular during the last three and a half years (Matthew 24:9-13), but these Christians will be Jews and Gentiles who are going to be saved during the Great Tribulation and not the saints who are presently living or have died in this dispensation (Revelation 7:13-14)

In his article Who Remains Behind?”  Rev. Rob Visser wrote the following:

The Lord Jesus returns from heaven to the earth at his Second Coming. Then everyone who lived on the earth will be resurrected. The persons who are still alive on earth will be changed. The believers of all ages are then plucked off the earth to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. They welcome their God and Saviour and return to earth with Him where He is going to judge everyone and to create a new earth.

Accordingly the opponents of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture agree that the Second Coming of Christ Jesus is going to occur in two phases – i.e. the Rapture to meet Him in the air and his immediate return with all the believers to the earth to judge the nations. There are, however, a few fundamental problems with this particular view.

First of all, it asserts that everyone (believers and unbelievers) are going to be resurrected and judged simultaneously whilst the Bible emphatically declares that they are not going to be resurrected and judged at the same time.

Secondly, the notion that all the believers are going to meet Jesus Christ in the air as some kind of welcoming party, only to return immediately with Him to the earth to judge the nations, leaves no room and time for the consummation of the Bema Throne judgement (only for the saints) and the Marriage of the Lamb.

“That’s not true” some of you would probably want to say, “The Marriage of the Lamb occurs when Jesus Christ returns at his Second Coming to the earth subsequent to the Rapture at the end of the Great Tribulation.”

What do the Scriptures say? According to Revelation 19:7 the Marriage of the Lamb will already have been a fait accompli when Christ Jesus returns to the earth at his Second advent. The word “erchomai” (has come) denotes something that has already taken place.

The word, when it is used in conjunction with people, does not mean that something is about to occur or in the process of taking place; it means that something which has already taken place, has come from one place to another, in this case the marriage of the Lamb which will have come from heaven to the earth.

It indicates that the Marriage of the Lamb will already have been consummated in heaven when Jesus Christ returns to earth with his bride to appear in the public eye of those who will have survived the holocaust during the Great Tribulation. Verse 8 of Revelation 19 proves this in saying 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.”

She (the Bride) will be adorned with fine linen, clean and white, which are the righteous deeds of the saints when she returns with her Bridegroom at his Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation, just prior to the inauguration of the Millennium of peace on earth.

The fine, clean and white linen garments, as we’ve seen, refer to the saints righteous deeds. There is only one way to determine whether the deeds of the saints are righteous and acceptable to the Lord, and that is the judgement seat of Christ called the Bema Seat judgement  which will occur after the Rapture.

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. ( 1Corinthians 3:13-15)

Indeed, the Bema Throne Judgment  will occur in heaven prior to the Marriage of the Lamb so that when the Bride returns with her Bridegroom from heaven to the earth she will already be arrayed in clean and white linen garments.

Revelation 19:14 confirms this in saying: “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Some say that the armies are angels. It cannot be angels because they are not going to be arrayed with fine, clean and white linen garments (righteous deeds) because there is no need for God’s angels to be judged at the Bema Throne Judgement Seat. One of the oldest prophecies in the Bible also confirms Revelation 19:14.

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (Jude 1:14)

If, as the quoted passages above affirm very strongly, the Bride of Christ returns with Him to the earth at the end of the Great Tribulation to judge the nations and to establish his Millennial reign on earth, it follows that she (the Bride) must have been raptured before the seven year tribulation and not during or at the end of the Great Tribulation.

The Rapture cannot occur at any other time than before the seven year tribulation because the Antichrist will only be able to reveal himself as Israel’s false Messiah when the saints have been taken out of the world (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). Another passage that proves that the saints will return with Christ to the earth, already arrayed in their fine, clean and white linen garments (righteous deeds) after the Great Tribulation, is Luke 12:35-36.

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

Of particular and great significance is the fact that Luke also affirms that the wedding of the Lamb shall be a fully accomplished and completed event when Jesus returns, not in the air as in the Rapture, but to the earth at his Second Advent (Zechariah 14:4). We may be pretty sure that Jesus’ wedding won’t be a marriage ceremony by proxy.

His Bride will be at his side when He presents her to his Father in heaven. If it had been a wedding by proxy we could have assumed that his warning to have the loins girded and the lights burning was addressed to his Bride, which means that his Bride will still have to be on earth when He returns from his wedding ceremony by proxy.

Nonetheless, I really don’t think that Jesus would be satisfied with a wedding ceremony by proxy and hence we must conclude that He does not address his Bride in Luke 12:35 and 36 but someone else.

Whereas Luke 12:35 and 36 says that the wedding ceremony itself is going to occur in heaven after the Rapture, Revelation 19:7-16 suggests that the marriage feast or banquet will take place on the earth.

Several parables in Matthew, among them the parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins in chapter 25 and the parable of the person who was caught entering the wedding feast without a wedding garment in Matthew 22 prove that the wedding banquet (the entire Millennial age of peace on earth) will take place on earth.

Bearing in mind that the seven year tribulation is primarily a time of trouble for the Jews (Jeremiah 30:7) it is reasonable to assume that Jesus was addressing the Jews and not the Bride of Christ in Luke 12:35-36. We may transliterate it as follows.

Let your [Jacob’s, the Jewish nation’s] loins be girded about, and your [Jacob’s, the Jewish nation’s] lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding [with his Bride whom He raptured before the seven year tribulation]; that when he cometh and knocketh, they [Jacob, the Jewish nation] may open unto him immediately.

When Jesus returns with his Bride at his Second Advent to the earth, He is going to separate the chaff from the corn and this, as we’ve already seen, will be accomplished according to the two parables in Matthew 25 and 22. Matthew 25’s ten virgins are the Jews who will know for certain, through the many signs in the seven year tribulation, that their Messiah’s return is imminent.

Some will be ready (having enough oil for their lamps) while others won’t be ready (not having enough oil for their lamps). The latter are professing Christians who will have the appearance of godliness but who will deny the need to be saved through the power of God, i.e. the cross of his Son.

Matthew 22 describes a scene during the wedding banquet when a person, presumably a Gentile, enters the feast without the appropriate wedding garment (Isaiah 61:10). The Jews, being the natural heirs of the Kingdom, will be the first to be invited to the wedding banquet but sadly most of them are going to decline the invitation (Matthew 8:11-12).

As seen from the rest of the parable, the King then sends out his servants to the highways and byways to invite the Gentiles. Many will heed the invitation but some will try to enter the banquet without the appropriate wedding garment. Like the five foolish virgins, they too will have an appearance of godliness but will deny the power of God’s salvation by means of the cross of his Son (2 Timothy 3:5).

It is therefore obvious that if the wedding of the Lamb and the judgement of the Bride at the Bema Throne judgement Seat and her adornment in fine white linen garments will be completed events when Jesus returns together with her at his Second Advent to the earth, then the bide must have been taken to heaven before Christ’s Second Advent (John 14:1-3).

It is very important to point out that the return of the Lord at the Rapture goes hand in hand with rewards (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12). This brings us to the meaning of the Bema Throne judgment which cannot possibly be associated with the White Throne judgement in Revelation 20:11. The Bema is just for believers while the White is just for unbelievers.

The Word of God makes it very clear that there are two types of resurrections – the resurrection of the righteous/just unto life ( John 5:29) and another of the unrighteous unto the second death. Some interpret Acts 24:15 as a single and simultaneous resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

However, when we turn to Revelation 20:5 two very distinctive resurrections are described – the one of Christians who are going to be beheaded during the Great Tribulation for their testimony prior to the Millennial reign of Christ on earth and that of all the unbelievers who are going to be resurrected after the thousand years reign of Christ on earth to be judged at the White Throne judgement seat.

But, what should we to make of the resurrection of the dead at the Rapture? (1 Corinthians 15:52). Is it not the first resurrection? Many make the mistake to interpret “first” and “second” as two sequential and chronological occurrences while the Bible has no intention to do so. First and second have a qualitative and not a quantitative meaning in the sense that the “first” leads to eternal life and “second” leads to eternal damnation.

The resurrection of the deceased believers in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 as well as the resurrection of the slaughtered tribulation saints just before the inauguration of the Millennial Age of peace on earth are all part of the first resurrection.

The only difference is that the resurrection described in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 leads to a judgement – the Bema throne judgement of Christ. The purpose of this judgement is to determine who will receive rewards and crowns.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1Corinthians 3:11-15)

There is absolutely no doubt that the Bema Throne judgment is for believers only. The personal pronoun “we” in 2 Corinthians 5:1-9 proves this over and over again. Only “we” the believers:

  1. have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”
  2. can be given “the Spirit as a guarantee.”
  3. can experience “mortality being swallowed up of life. “
  4. can always be confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.” and “willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. “
  5. can “walk by faith, not by sight.”

Every believer’s works shall be tested by fire to determine who will receive one or more of the following rewards:

  1. An incorruptible crown for those who overcome their carnal nature. (1 Corinthians 9:25).
  2. The crown of rejoicing for the winner of souls. (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
  3. The crown lf life for those who endure temptations because they love the Lord. (James 1:12).
  4. The crown of righteousness for those who love his appearance at the Rapture (2 Timothy 4:8).
  5. An incorruptible crown of glory for those who are prepared to give the lambs and sheep the right spiritual food (1 Peter 5:4).

The Marriage of the Lamb

It is evident from Scripture that the wedding of the Lamb occurs after the Bema Throne judgment in heaven whilst God’s judgements are poured out on the nations under the yoke of the antichrist during the seven years tribulation on earth.

If it were true that the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ to the earth are one and the same and simultaneous event (Post-Trib), there would have been no time for the Bema Throne Judgment and the wedding of the Lamb.

The word “then” (“at that particular time”) is a very important word because it denotes the immediate sequential occurrences of events in the last days. Of the 588 times it occurs in the New Testament, 130 is in Matthew, i.e. 22.11%.

It pretty much proves that the time element of the chronological events in Matthew 24 ad 25 are very important and that we dare not twist them to suit our own interpretation. The only feasible interpretation is the literal interpretation of events. Consider the following, for instance:

Matthew 24:16: “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains . . .” (The event that precipitates the flight into the mountains is the abomination of desolation in the most holy of holies of the newly built temple in Jerusalem).

Matthew 24:21: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (The event that follows immediately after the Antichrist’s abomination of desolation in the holy of holies, is the last three and a half years leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth and the inauguration of his Millennial age of peace on earth).

Matthew 24:30: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. ” (When the last three and a half years of the seven years tribulation have elapsed the immediate even to occur then is the appearance of the sign of the Son of man in the heavens when He, together with his Bride [Jude 1:14-15], returns to earth to judge the nations and individuals [Zechariah 14:4])

Matthew 25:1:  “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” (Immediately after His Second Advent to the earth His Kingdom will finally be established on earth).

None of these events which follow one another in close succession provide enough time for the Bema Throne judgment and the marriage of the Lamb to transpire. They must therefore be two separate events and, most importantly, events that take place outside the earthly realm where God’s judgements are going to cause misery, death and mayhem as the world has never seen and experienced before and never will see and experience ever again (Matthew 24:21).

No bridegroom, least of all the Bridegroom among all bridegrooms, will reward his bride with gifts that surpass all other gifts and then marry her in an atmosphere of death, mayhem, wars, pestilence, and disasters. Indeed, the Bridegroom who exceeds all other bridegrooms in magnitude, brilliance, beauty, magnificence and splendour is going to take his fiancé completely out of the earthly realm to make her His eternal bride.

Are Today’s Saints Going To Go Through the Tribulation?

One of the major issues most Christians have with a Pre-Mil Rapture is that it allegedly disavows the biblical concept of persecution, affliction and tribulation. Calvinists in particular who believe that their perseverance to the end (Matthew 10:22) is the evidence of their election (salvation) cannot accept the notion that today’s saints are going to escape the tribulation that is coming upon the entire world (Revelation 3:10).

No thoroughbred Calvinist would want to be deprived of an opportunity to authenticate his election, especially when the tribulation is so severe as it will be during the great Tribulation. There is a difference between the tribulation of saints and the Great Tribulation of which Matthew 24 speaks when God’s wrath is going to be poured out on the entire world for its rejection of Christ.

We shouldn’t confuse the two meanings. The tribulation of the saints is purely for their refinement. God is ceaselessly putting on the finishing touches on His children before His Son returns at the Rapture, and He often uses persecution, tribulation and suffering. The Great Tribulation is purely for God’s judgments to be poured out on the entire world (nations).

The most popular view among Christians is that God is going to protect them from the Antichrist’s murderous persecution in much the same way He protected the Israelites in Goshen when He poured his judgements out on Egypt.

Therefore, God is not going to remove or take the saints completely out of the danger zone but will protect them while they are in the tribulation. In Revelation 3:10 the words ek (ex) hōra (from the hour) do not convey the idea of an on location protection but protection that involves the complete removal of the saints from amongst those who are left behind. The same word “ek’ is used in Mark 9:9-10

And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead (“ek ekron,” out from among the dead) should mean.

The resurrection of the dead was a common accepted doctrine of the Jews because the Old Testament teaches it very clearly (Hebrews 11:17-18; Job 14:1-13; 19:25-26; Psalm 61:8; 49:15; Hosea 5:15-6:2; 13″14; Isaiah 25:8; 26:19; Daniel 12:2′ John 5:28-29; 11:24).

Why then, should we ask, were the disciples perplexed, questioning one another what the rising from the dead meant? It was the “ek nekron” (from among the dead”) that puzzled them. Having been under the impression that the saved and unsaved are going to be resurrected together and simultaneously, they could not understand why Jesus said “from among the dead.”

It suggested that the resurrection of the saved and the unsaved do not occur at the same time because the unbelievers remain behind when believers are resurrected from out amongst them. Even Daniel 12:2-3, when it is interpreted correctly, proves that the resurrection of the saved and unsaved do not occur simultaneously.

The correct interpretation is that those who shall awake shall awake unto everlasting life, and those who shall not awake (remain behind at that stage) shall be unto shame unto everlasting contempt. Therefore, one may safely believe that “ek hōra (from the hour) also indicates that the saved are going to removed from without the season of tribulation while the unbelievers are going to remain behind.

Destruction of Jerusalem 70ADAmillennialists (Preterists) place the Tribulation in 70 AD when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Roman General, Flavius Vespasianus Titus. If their view is correct then Jesus lied when He said: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:21).

Anyone who is prepared to use his God-given intelligence will realize that Hitler’s extermination of 6 000 000 Jews was far greater and worse than the the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in  70AD. The Jewish historian, Josephus, claims that 1 100 000 people were killed of whom most were Jews and 97 000 were captured and enslaved.

Moreover, the siege in 70AD was restricted to Jerusalem and the temple while the tribulation depicted in Matthew 24 will be a worldwide phenomenon of massive proportions “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” The Great Tribulation couldn’t possibly have occurred in 70AD because the events immediately subsequent to it never occurred.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

The Rapture of the believers to meet Jesus Christ in the air is a unique event that differs from his Second Coming to the earth in several ways. I shall point out these distinctions in the following article of this series

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Tom Lessing (Discerning the World)

Tom Lessing is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

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Zechariah 9:12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;

The verse above is something we, the saved, should be…a prisoner of HOPE. Those without hope truly are the poorest of all. Whether saved or lost we all need HOPE. HOPE will get us through that long lonely times when friends are few and far between.

There are many verses from Genesis through The Revelation concerning HOPE.

The sweetest verse of Scripture concerning HOPE is of course in Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
This is the blessed hope of every saved person, whether they believe this sweet doctrine or not. If the Calvinist want to stay here, then stay. But where the Holy Spirit goes we go.

I asked a Calvinist friend recently what she believed about the Rapture of the Church/Saved. Her comment was, “well I have heard Godly men preach both the Pre-Trib and After the Trib. I just know he will return”. I was just “stunned” at her comment.
What I took from our conversation is that she is missing a great comfort and is unable to be looking for our Blessed Hope!

Jesus is NOT a Bride Beater. He loved the Church and gave himself for us…PTL!
When the Apostle Paul talked about the return of Jesus he was expecting it to be in his life time. He was looking for that Blessed Hope. Don’t you know what comfort that gave Paul when he was in prison and he also told us to comfort one another with his words in

1st Thessalonians 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1st Thessalonians5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

So if any Calvinists out there reads what little I write, you can stay here until after the Great Tribulation if you wish, so you can prove to yourselves that Calvin is always right. (not)

The rest of we non-Calvinists will be at home with our Blessed Savior…what an awesome HOPE!


Incorrect. I belong to a Sovereign Grace Fellowship (reformed theology ) that is pre trib and does not teach replacement theology. Please do better research before broad brushing everyone into one category. I realize in your zeal to bash reformed people you want to put everyone together, however better research on your part would make you more credible

Deborah (Discerning the World)


Oh terrible sorry that we miscategorised your little church while the rest believe differently. However the fact of the matter is you are still a CALVINIST and that means you follow a false doctrine, so believing in a pre-trib rapture is worthless because you believe you are Elect before time memorial and this does not constitute salvation.
Please read:

  • Jesus Christ Our Passover and His Unlimited Atonement – Proof that Limited Atonement is False. –
  • What it Really Means to be “Elected, Chosen, and Predestinated” – The Biblical Truth –
  • Joe

    [delete – Please read all articles on understanding the false gospel of Calvinism under the Categories/Keywords:
    TULIP, 5 Points of Calvinism, Total Hereditary Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints – See more at:


    Jean, I echo both Thomas’ and Debs comments and could not have said it better.

    As long as you remain in a church that subscribes to the Calvinist/Reformed false teaching on salvation which is the bedrock of that faith you have no grounds on which to be offended.

    May I suggest that you study the articles here refuting Calvinism/Reformed theology/TULIP? Will you please consider that it is YOU who need to check your facts? Also the articles on salvation at the top of the webpage.

    Perhaps the Lord drew you here just for that purpose. May He lead you into ALL truth.


    I have studied Calvinism for the last 5 years. Calvinism turns God into the author of every evil thing. If you were raped today would that be God’s will? Calvin was an unrepentant murderer. Have you ever read his and Augustine’s “salvation statements?” No repentance, not asking God to save them. God nor Jesus is mentioned at all in their statements. Our God is sovereign that is true. The only thing else I will say is in the World of Calvinism ALL doesn’t mean ALL. WHOSOEVER doesn’t mean WHOSOEVER and the WHOLE WORLD doesn’t mean the WHOLE WORLD.

    I am not Arminian….I am a born again Christian first and foremost. Then I am a Baptist by conviction. Reformed/Calvinism/Sovereign Grace…it all means the same things… Heresy and Blasphemy! I’m done. Because there is no use arguing with a Calvinist because they are blind to the damning teachings of it.

    Jean wrote:

    Incorrect. I belong to a Sovereign Grace Fellowship (reformed theology ) that is pre trib and does not teach replacement theology. Please do better research before broad brushing everyone into one category. I realize in your zeal to bash reformed people you want to put everyone together, however better research on your part would make you more credible

    Jon O. Barnes

    Notice who is the object of this world wide testing – the earth dwellers , not the faithful. Again this observation regarding the recipients of the testing is indirect support for the fact that the church will not be present. To be sure, many peoples will come to know Christ during the tribulation period (Re 7:9- note ; Re 7:14- note ) and especially the Great Tribulation , but they are not benefactors of God’s promise in Re 3:10- note to keep them from the hour of testing. In fact, the world wide testing is undoubtedly an “impetus” that God’s Spirit uses to awaken their dead souls to receive the life giving Gospel proclaimed throughout the world by the angel in mid-heaven. However, even as they receive Christ and refuse Antichrist, they do so with the realization that they will mark themselves as targets who are subject to martyrdom at the hands of the Antichrist!

    Martin Horan

    My main problem with Calvinism–after its blasphemous view of God, I mean–is its Catholicism.
    It claims to extol the Reformers, many of whom were tortured and murdered by Rome, and yet it holds staunchly to Catholic doctrines. It also esteems Augustine whom the Catholics revere as one of their all time greats! Hello. That’s why Catholics have Augustinian monks.
    Romanism gets it Unam Sanctum from Augustine. It is close to Calvinist election but not quite as chilling: Anyone can become a Catholic but that’s not so with Calvinism. You are particulary chosen to be a Calvinist. But Calvin made no secret of his esteem for Augustine and neither did Luther.
    The strangest Calvinist belief is that Catholic baptism is efficacious. I wonder how they work that out when most people who are baptised remain Catholics, nominally or otherwise. Would they aply that to Hitler, Mussolini and Franco who all remained Catholics? I also wonder if they’d apply the same to Jacob Prasch who was baptised Catholic as a child, considering Mr Prasch takes his famous Mishna approach to Scripture!
    As to my own baptism as a child in the Catholic Church: I cannot remember the slightest thing about it and neither can any other person I know who was baptised as a Catholic. Also, countless numbers of Jews who were forced into Catholic baptisms by the Inquisition remained Jews. So it could not have been efficacious for them.
    This Catholic part of Calvinism is cranky to say the least.
    Jesus Christ tells us that the the next greatest thing to loving God is loving our neighbours as ourselves [Matt 22:39].
    Calvin and Luther certainly did not love their neighbours as themselves. Unless, of course, they were perverse masochists who would have been happpy to be tortured and murdered.
    It seems an odd god they worship who demands of his followers to love their neighbours as themselves while he has condemned the vast majority of them to eternal damnation. This is especially so when he could have been much nicer and never let them be born.
    I thank God that He reveals Himself in His Word–quite the opposite of Calvin’s god. And that brings us back to the point of the Rapture: God, who is God and not another of many gods, has not appointed His people to wrath [1 Thess 5:9]. He has promised us the Blessed Hope [Titus 2:13]. Calvinists deny that and have the Great Tribulation to look forward to (of which we have a glimpse in Matt 24:19-22) before His Return.
    The interesting thing is the question that Jesus was answering [verse3].
    Calvinsts and Preterists obviously don’t believe Jesus answered that question. Instead they seem to believe that He went off on a tangent about something else. But no, He dealt with the question they asked. And it was not about the Church but about Israel and, as they asked, at the END OF THE AGE. What I can’t understand is why people refuse to believe that when it is clearly documented.
    We get back to the point that Jesus is either dealing with another group in verse 38, when the world is carrying on as usual, or He is contradicting Himself. Or He doesn’t know what He is talking about or He is joking!
    How do Calvinists and Preterists deal with this? Either at the End there will never be a time like it, before or since, or life is carrying on as usual? Either they are different times or we have the options of Jesus being clueless or joking.
    Jesus knew very well what He was saying and He was not joking. He was deadly serious.
    Arguments and counter arguments can fly back and forth. Post-Tribbers whether Calvinists or any other ists, need to look at these things squarely. It is bad enough that they revert to blatant lies regarding Margaret MacDonald’s visions, Lacunza (who was a Jesuit for goodness sake–and therefore a Preterist!!!) coming up with the idea, and that it is a fairly recent concept. A fairly recent concept! It was written of by Ephrem of Syian before 373AD and it is even mentioned even earlier in the Didache, circa 40-60 AD. And it right there in the New Testament.
    In Revelation the Church is not mentioned again after John is sybolically Raptured to God’s Throne.
    There are even forerunners of it in the Old Testament, for those with eyes to see: In fact in the days of Noah the Flood came instantly and Noah and his family were above the earth and all the people who were destroyed. Lot and his family were virtually snatched by angels out of Sodom and taken above Sodom and Gomorrah. Elijah was an even clearer pointer to the Rapture.
    I can’t understand why people don’t believe what is clearly in the Bible.

    The Town Crier

    Lot never left the earth , neither did Noah. The rapture theory is a hoax people… The last trumpet is the end of judgment… Scripture says- We who are alive and remain,that the angels will separate the wicked from among the just (Mat 13:49) the tares will be gathered first and the righteous shall see and fear(Psalms 52:5-6, Proverbs 10:30, Psalms 1:5. Isiah 13:9 ) Jude 1:15-judgment comes and the ungodly will be among them, Matthew 25:32,33 the Sheep are separated from the goats at the gathering of the nations-on the Earth!…What part of those don’t you understand? Go ask the people in the middle east who are being killed for their testimony if they believe in a ‘rapture theory’. Only the lukewarm believe that. You folks that believe in ‘unmerited favor’ are in for a big surprise….read a book called ‘How a Nation Fell From Grace’-it undisputedly refutes a rapture of the church before Jesus returns,as well as breaks down the gospel of grace and destroys the doctrine of unmerited favor completely.Copy and paste the link into your browser and it will take you straight to the free download:

    [link removed] How a Nation Fell From Grace.pdf

    Deborah, I would encourage you to read the whole book before you go making any comments,Having said that God Bless and let grace always be in your speech because what is in the mouth comes from the heart…what does your heart look like?

    Deborah (Discerning the World)

    The Town Crier

    America is not Babylon. Total nonsense if ever I have heard it. And I’ve read many a book and article on this subject – it does NOT tie up with scripture. That is a hoax if ever I’ve seen one, to try draw attention away from the real culprits the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church.

    The Town Crier

    [delete – no I removed the link because I don’t want to promote ridiculous lies on my blog – get it? got it? great!]

    The Town Crier

    Thomas Lessing (Watch and Pray / Waak en Bid) wrote:

    The Town Crier
    You quote several passages from Scripture that have absolutely nothing to do with the Rapture while you deliberately ignore the ones that refer to it very clearly.
    Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1Co 15:51-55)
    Is the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11: 15, the last trump of 1 Corinthians 15: 52 and 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 identical? Can one categorically declare that because it is identified as the “last trump” that it is the very last trumpet in point of time to be sounded? Even the staunchest mid-tribulationists admit that “last” can either refer to a sequential or a final time-out occurrence. It would be naive to say that the final whistle in a football match is the very last whistle for all football matches put together, jut because it is called the final whistle. For instance, is the trumpet call which Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24: 31 the same as the last trump mentioned in Revelation 11: 15? Hardly, because the trumpet call in Matthew 24: 31 will be sounded after His Second Coming when His angels are sent out to gather his elect (remnant of Israel) from the four corners of the earth, whilst the trumpets in Revelation are sounded before to announce his Second Advent. Therefore the trumpet in Revelation 11: 15 cannot be the very last trumpet because another one will be blown after His Second Advent.
    In their zeal to prove that the seventh trumpet in revelation 11: 15 is the very same as the last trump in 1 Corinthians 15: 52 and 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 the critics of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture fail to acknowledge the obvious differences between the trumpets mentioned in the above portions of Scripture. The most significant difference between 1 Thessalonians 4; 16 (1 Corinthians 15: 52) and Revelation 11: 15 is that the latter is an angel’s trumpet whilst the other is called the trump of God. God alone can call the dead to life as we’ve seen in John 11 where Jesus called Lazarus to come forth form amongst the dead. Some may argue that a resurrection is mentioned in Revelation 11: 12 as well. However, the trumpet of the angel does not sound until after the resurrection whereas the trump of God in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 is the very power that brings them to life.
    Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Th 2:1-4)

    I will simply say this- all of your questions are dealt with in the book- and answered using sound scripture…The simple fact is- Deborah does not want you to read it because she knows that she will be outed as a false prophet…Go ahead Deborah- leave the link up so people can judge for themselves. If what I say is wrong- everyone who reads the book will know it…

    If she will not leave the link up- that will tell you all you need to know…Let others decide for themselves Deborah

    The Town Crier

    If favor were to be merited (something you deserved) it could not have been favor. The very nature of favor is determined by its undeservedness. There is no such thing as merited favor.

    God giveth grace to the Humble, Repent or ye shall likewise perish, Marvel not ye must be born again,Unless ye eat of my flesh and drink of my blood ye have no life in you…Do any of these sound like unmerited favor? Jesus said that He gives us POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD…Read Titus

    Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
    Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
    Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    He saved us by a washing and renewing of the Holy Spirit…that is grace my friend but you have turned grace into lasciviousness and will pay dearly for it…

    True: Lot and Noah did not leave the earth but Enoch and Elijah did. Lot and Noah are types of the saints who are going to survive the Great Tribulation and given the right to enter the thousand year kingdom of Christ on earth. Enoch and Elijah are tpes of the saints who are going to be taken in the Rapture.

    We are also translated into the Kingdom:

    Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

    In any case the believers and unbelievers aren’t going to be judged at the same time.

    Really? The Bible says we are:

    Rom 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
    Rom 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
    Rom 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

    Read your Bible instead of a book like “A Nation fell from Grace.” America is not Babylon. Rubbish!
    Question: I’ve heard prophecy teachers say that New York (and perhaps even America as a whole) is “mystery Babylon,” the woman riding the beast in Revelation 17 and 18. They point to the evil of America, the Statue of Liberty (a pagan goddess) guarding New York harbor and supposedly blessing America, etc. What do you think of this?
    Answer: America may be Sodom prophetically, but it is not “Mystery Babylon” depicted by the woman riding the beast. The truth is rather simple.

    First of all, the woman is a city, not a country: “that great city , which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Rv 17:18). This fact alone eliminates the United States. God’s people are warned, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (18:4). Must we all move out of the United States? Hardly.

    City is simply a dwelling place. Babylon is also called a destroying mountain and the hammer of the Earth, also where the merchants of the earth are made rich by ‘her’ lifestyle, Babylon is called a place where the candle will be put out and the voice of the Lord will no longer be heard…How does The Catholic church fit those…Babylon sits in the middle of the seas…How does the Catholic church fit those?

    The reference is to a religious system in which Christians are to have no part, not to a geographical location one must leave.
    That the United Nations has its headquarters in New York does not mean that the city of New York rules over the world. Rome of the Caesars, followed by Rome of the popes, ruled over the known world of its day for many centuries. New York is of recent origin. Ancient Babylon in Iraq has been in ruins for 2,300 years, so it doesn’t qualify either, even if rebuilt.
    The angel tells John, “I will tell thee the mystery of the woman…” (17:7). There are 14 identifying features given in these two chapters that make the identity of the woman very clear.

    Wrong- there are over 50 Characteristics of Babylon that the United State alone fits-most are physical, some are names- ‘An Eagle’, a ‘Lady’ etc. You lack spiritual discernment because you don’t have true grace- the power of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of the word of God ‘in your heart’. I have warned you but you are to full of pride to listen…so it is what it is…goodbye

    Deborah (Discerning the World)

    Town Crier

    We are also translated into the Kingdom:

    Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

    You obviously believe that we are already living smack bang in the middle of the millennial kingdom of God on earth. In that case you should stop praying “Let thy Kingdom COME. Let they WILL BE DONE on earth as it is in heaven.” Or even better, next time you visit the Kruger National Park in South Africa, get out of your car, approach a pride of lions and say “Hi guys, I see you only eat grass so it must be safe to sit and chat with you.”

    Rightttttt…. I don’t even have the energy to answer such a comment as this. You clearly have no idea what you are speaking about.


    “Hardly, because the trumpet call in Matthew 24: 31 will be sounded after His Second Coming when His angels are sent out to gather his elect (remnant of Israel) from the four corners of the earth, whilst the trumpets in Revelation are sounded before to announce his Second Advent. Therefore the trumpet in Revelation 11: 15 cannot be the very last trumpet because another one will be blown after His Second Advent. ”

    Can you explain your views on Israel’s role in the Rapture, please? I’m afraid I’m a bit confused. What do you believe “the gathering of the elect from the four corners” is? Why do you equate “the elect” with “the remnant of Israel”? What exactly is the “gathering”?

    Thanks in advance. :)

    I AM

    When words are many, transgression is not lacking.

    Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.
    For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    Therefore this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the LORD–‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.

    I AM

    [deleted by DTW – do you think you are God by any chance?]


    @i am

    You dish out exactly what you accuse others of.

    “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged” typical mantra of those who do not like what they read here. I am very sure DTW would have loved to have a penny for every time this has been said on this site.

    If the truth offends you-
    Therefore this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the LORD–‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.

    See. Anyone can do what you do. Doing what Tom and Deborah does takes a lot more effort. It is very easy for someone to write silly little one-liners warning people who have a real passion for the truth.

    If you disagree with what you read here please state the facts to the contrary and I am sure you will be taken more seriously.

    Deborah (Discerning the World)

    Thanks Gideon! :)


    Spot on Gideon.

    “do not judge” is certainly the most oft’ misquoted verse in the Bible. People use it to hide their sinful life styles.

    “I AM?… no you are not.
    Debs/Tom I see it was also the logo on 2015 woman’s day celebration. the “policy” started with “I am”



    I sincerely hope you are right. It would make things so much easier. However just as you have built a case there are equally as strong cases for post trib. Your use of rev 20 betrays you as you would place the rapture at the beginning of rev, probaby ch 4 but the first resurrection doesn’t happen until ch 20. Here is a excerpt from an article I’m writing as well.

    2 Thess 2:1-11. This chapter is written to people who are unsure about the timing of the rapture. It also could be said that you could take out 2 Thessalonians here and substitute pre tribulationalists. Paul sets the context in verse one, he is writing this chapter in regards to two things:
    1. Coming of Christ and; 2. Our gathering together to Him or the rapture. This clearly shows it is the first gathering of the followers of Christ by the use of the word “our.”
    These two events are not differentiated in the following verses so it would be fair to say that they occur at the same time or are the same event. This in verse 2 is referred to as the Day of the Lord thus defining what “The Day of the Lord” is, both events.

    V.2 Day of the Lord.
    They are concerned they have missed it. It would be fair to say they didn’t know what they were looking for, obviously someone had told them something false which they believed. Paul is correcting their thinking saying it has not come. Paul gives reasons in v. 3

    V.3 “Let no one deceive you” Day of the Lord will not come unless and until 2 things happen: 1. The apostasy comes, or the great falling away happens. (Christians have to be here to fall away.) and; 2. The man of Lawlessness is revealed. This eliminates the pre trib option and leaves mid and post, as we know that the man of lawlessness is revealed in the temple at the mid point of the final seven years. This is called the abomination of desolation as found in the book of Daniel 11:31. It seems that there are many who have been deceived by a pre trib rapture as these Thessalonians also had, the very thing that this verse warns against.

    This verse removes the possibility that the church could be the restrainer of verse 7 as it happens in reverse order. Verse 3 says the apostasy and revealing of the man of lawlessness occur then then “our” gathering to Him. Verse 7 puts the removal of the restrainer before the revealing of the lawless one. Therefore the events happen in this order:
    1. Apostasy (v.3+11) (probably has already started.)
    2. Restrainer removed (v.7) (notice restrainer is referred to as “He,” the church is a she.)
    3. Lawless one revealed. (V.3) This is also called the abomination of desolation.
    4. Day of the Lord. This includes three events: the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (v.3), “our” gathering to Him (v.3), and the destruction of the lawless one. (V. 8)

    What does it mean for the antichrist to be revealed? Does this mean we will know who he is years in advance or when he takes power? Verse 4 gives us the answer to what this means in these selected verses. He will oppose God and sit as God in the temple. This is the only way we will know for certain that it is him. There have been many speculations of who it may be but until the abomination of desolation we will not know for sure.

    Paul includes Himself by using the word “our” in verse 1. This shows that he is watching and waiting for the second coming and obviously isn’t expecting to be secretly raptured away before times get tough. This is unless Paul and his audience, which he refers to as “our,” plan to convert during the tribulation and are expecting to gather to Jesus when at the end of the tribulation. This simply does not make logical sense and is therefore safe to conclude He is not teaching a pre trib rapture.

    Up until verse seven a case could be made for a mid trib or a pre wrath rapture, as the two events that need to happen are done at the mid point of the tribulation. However the phase “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”
    appears in verse 1. Although there are other places where this is over looked by pre tribulationalists verse 8 clears things up for us. Verse one gives us two events, the coming and the gathering, and verse 8 expounds on the coming. It is absolutely clear that we are talking about the second coming of Christ here because it says He will destroy the lawless one when He comes. We know that the lawless one isn’t destroyed by Jesus until the second coming at the end of the Daniels seventieth week so that moves the timing of the rapture to the end of the tribulation.

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x