THE TRUTH IS TRIBULATION FIRST, BEFORE RAPTURE (POST-TRIBULATION RAPTURE)In this world no one wears the crown without hard working or suffering and thus it is often said that ‘SUFFER TO GAIN.’ Since this is also applicable to our salvation work, we can’t just go to our heavenly Father without tasting suffering (Tribulation): Hence the exhortation to the early Christians about the need to suffer tribulations in the text below.
(21) "And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, (22) Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” ACTS 14:21,22
It is time for us to make comparison between the two most widely accepted views regarding this matter in hand, as to whether Rapture will precede ‘666’ tribulation, or will come after it. That is to say we have to establish the truth in this matter that has become one of the greatest controversies in Christendom today.
As I have already alluded to, the imminent return of Christ to this world shall climax the Day of Rapture. So if we want to know the truth about this matter in hand, that fact cannot be skipped. For that much let us consult Christ our only hope and hear what He has in mind for us.
(29) "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: (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. (31) 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.” MATT.24:29-31
I hope you now know what our master has said about when He shall come for us. He said it is AFTER the days of tribulations that He will come with His Angels with the blast of the trumpet to pick us from all corners of the world. He did not say He would come BEFORE the tribulation. Remember that Christ Jesus said this when His disciples went to inquire about when He would return to this world, as well as signs leading to the end of the world, and also about the prediction He gave them regarding the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. Check this text:
(1)"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. (2) And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (3) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” MATT. 24:1-3
If Jesus rightly said all these concerning the end times why do some people claim that rapture will come before ‘666’ government? You know what? They have forgotten the fact that it is evidently clear in that same chapter that carries the SIGNS of the end time that, there shall be GREAT TRIBULATIONS as part of the end time signs before Christ comes back. According to verse number 21, it reads "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” So if this is so, then where from all these argument against the real truth which shows that our dear LORD should come after the great tribulation.
Also let us consider what the Holy Spirit led Apostle Paul to write about the rapture of the saints. According to Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, those of us that might remain alive until Christ return shall not overtake those who are already dead in Christ during the rapture. This presupposes that the event of rapture must occur ONCE for both the dead and the living and not double nor multiple, as some people claim. That is on that same day when He comes, He will redeem both the dead and the living alike, but the dead shall be taken away first. Let us look at it.
(13) "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (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. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1THESS.4:13-18
In another way the Holy Spirit of Christ taught us a mystery as to how and why we shall be taken away through rapture on Christ return in one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians thus:
(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. (53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1COR. 15:51-53
According to the above text the dead shall be raised incorruptible and the living shall be changed to put on the incorruption. But note that these two events shall take place at the same time in the twinkling of an eye at the very last trump. But what is more important here is that, the living shall not overtake the dead as already outlined in 1Thessalonians.
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” 1THESS.4:15
In this particular verse the phrase which means the dead shall not be overtaken by the living on the day of rapture is rendered thus "THAT WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN UNTO THE COMING OF THE LORD SHALL NOT PREVENT THEM WHICH ARE ASLEEP.”
Notably, the word ASLEEP found in the text above simply means DEAD and for that matter the living saints shall be taken away immediately after the dead have been gathered by the Angels of God.
In another argument, it is a well known fact that only the RIGHTEOUS SAINTS shall be fortunate to enjoy the rapture on the day of our redemption: And at the same time too we now understand that these righteous saints are going to be harassed during the beastly war. So if some people teach that rapture will take place before 666, who are the people that should go through the ordeal of the great tribulation by suffering at the hands of the beast and his perpetrators? That is food for thought.
Though some also think that apart from the actual redemption day on which Christ shall his send His Angels to pick the elect, there shall be some form of ‘SECRET RAPTURE’ for some individuals whom the Lord may deem fit for salvation. This issue I am talking of is a wide spread doctrine among many believers and has convinced a lot because of these two texts below.
(34) "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. (35) Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (36) Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” LK.17:34-36
(40) "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (41) Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” MATT.24:40,41
Do these quotations above give any hint about secret rapture? Please if you really think so, let us analyze them one by one so as to enable you have better explanation of those quotations. The fact that Christ said there will be choices between two people at a particular place, does not mean that there shall be secret rapture. At least He was only trying to show us the process through which the righteous ones would be separated from the unrighteous ones on that day. Also the two texts exemplified above give more hope to the living saints to the extent that they can travel to their Father in heaven without tasting death. It is not that He was going to make His selection secretly. If there would be secrecy, who would notice that something of that nature has taken place?
Remember the Prophet Elijah’s example of rapture and understand how one deemed fit is separated from the other. Since God proved him to be right for that incidence he was taken away while people were aware. His successor Prophet Elisha saw what happened with his naked eyes while he was being whisked away through the whirlwind by the chariots of fire.
"And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. (2 )And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. (3) And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace ……………………… (11) And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (12) And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.” 2KINGS 2:1-3,11,12
Even apart from Elisha who was aware of this scenario and saw how the Prophet Elijah was taken away, some of the sons of the prophets who were also aware and were willing to see this great occasion, also went to hide at some corner in order to catch a glimpse of Elijah’s rapture.
(5) And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. (6) And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. (7) And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.” 2KINGS 2:5-7
What about Christ’s own example, was there anything secret? That is after the resurrection of Christ, He was taken away in the presence of many people. Even at that time Angels of the Lord who witnessed the scene appeared there and assured all those standing there that, Christ would be brought back in the same manner He was taken away.
(9) "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (10) And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; (11) Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” ACTS 1:9-11
There is another thing worthy of note regarding Elijah’s rapture. I can say without fear that his was a kind of prophecy to this end time event. Many factors that could be deduced from how the prophet Elijah was taken away can easily be compared to the events leading to this end time redemption for the saints. For instance Elijah suffered persecution before his rapture. That is why we should also suffer during the great tribulation before rapture, as I have already
explained. The time frame within which the modern true believers must be persecuted during the 666 tribulation is exactly three and an half years just as Elijah’s according to the text below.
(5) "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. (6) And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (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.” REV.13:5-7
The forty-two months quoted above is the same as three years six months since twelve months make one year. Remember Elijah also had the same experience of three and a half years persecution from King Ahab and his wife Jezebel within the very time that he prayed that there should be no rains, and the Lord listened to his prayer.
"Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” JAMES 5:17
"And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 1KINGS 17:1
Since the slogan goes like ‘Suffer to gain’, we must all bear in mind that we shall definitely experience what the Prophet Elijah went through before we see the glory of God.
In other words we must suffer persecutions for the sake of our faith in God like that of the Prophet Elijah before we would be glorified by being taken to heaven. It is against this background that detailed explanation has been given above regarding my argument for POST-TRIBULATION RAPTURE.
In actual fact I can’t force you to accept this argument for Rapture coming into being after the great tribulation: But if you will be sincere to yourself, you would rather agree with me that the argument for this truth of Post-tribulation Rapture is passionately undisputable, as far as the explanation so far given is concerned. Honestly we all have to side with Eliphaz’s advice for Job below regarding truthfulness.
"Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.” JOB 5:27
This is because the research conducted for this truth in hand is deeply enormous. And this is how I see the forthcoming end time events in my full theological telescope: Thus I am appealing to you to read the whole thing over and over again to grasp the full understanding of this whole truth concerning the Post-Tribulation Rapture argument.
"Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” 2TIM. 2:7CONTINUE HERE