The Spectacular Pre-Tribulation Rapture
By Kit R. Olsen
“Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners from it. The earth is broken asunder, the earth is split through, the earth is shaken violently. The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard and it totters like a shack, for its transgression is heavy upon it, and it will fall, never to rise again.” (Isaiah 13:9; 24:19-20 emphasis added)
Scripture assures us through the prophet Isaiah that the “day of the Lord” is in reference to the seven-year Tribulation. Its purpose is to exterminate unrepentant sinners and destroy wickedness out of the earth for good. The judgments of the Tribulation will forever destroy the transgressions of the godless masses—“never to rise again.”
Another major purpose of the day of the Lord is to bring about worldwide revival through the efforts of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses, specially anointed and protected by God (Revelation 7:1-4).
Furthermore, another crucially important objective of the Tribulation is to fracture the stubborn will of the Jewish nation—Israel (the holy people) and bring about national regeneration (Daniel 12:5-7). Those who remain rebellious will be eliminated, making it possible for an entirely new nation (which has been regenerated) to enter into the Millennium and be given the Promised Land by Jesus Himself. Once Israel recognizes Jesus as her Messiah, repents and cries out to Him, the Lord will return and the Tribulation will come to an end (Hosea 5:15; 6:1-3).
In the book of Revelation John is caught-up to heaven which is symbolic of the Church being caught-up to heaven before the Tribulation begins:
Revelation 4:1 – “After these things I saw, and behold, a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, a voice as of a trumpet speaking with me, one saying, ‘Come up hither, and I will show thee the things which must come to pass hereafter.’”
It’s time for the Church to go home: The door in heaven is opened signaling that believers of the Church Age are about to be caught-up to heaven. When a voice of a trumpet says, Come up hither, it is the command for believers to be raptured, as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians:
“For 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. Then 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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
The voice of the archangel will shout, Come up hither, and all living believers will be raptured; the dead in Christ will rise first to meet Jesus in the air. The Church is seen here in heaven, represented by the 24 elders and also as the myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands (Rev. 4:4, 10-11; 5:14). Yet, she is not seen again until chapter 19 of Revelation.
The Church is not seen during the Tribulation because she has been taken to heaven. Revelation chapter 4 begins with the statement, After these things—that is, after the Church Age.
Another indicator that the Church is not here during the Tribulation is this important sequence of Scripture: After each of the messages of the seven churches, God says, He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
But in Revelation 13:9, long after the events of chapter 4, God says, If any man hath an ear, let him hear. He leaves off the words what the Spirit saith to the churches because the Church is no longer on earth, she is with the Lord in heaven.
We also know the Church does not go into the Tribulation because of powerful symbols of her in the Old Testament. Enoch is a symbol of the Church because he was “caught away” just prior to the flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 5:24). Noah is a symbol of the Rapture because he was carried away to safety in the Ark before the flood came.
Another symbol of the Church in the Old Testament is Lot and his family. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit visited Abraham and told him that Sodom would be destroyed. Abraham tried to talk God out of destroying the city and begged that if just ten righteous people could be found in it that it would be spared (Genesis 18:20-33).
God agreed, but only one righteous man—Lot, was found. The Lord sent angels as His emissaries to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family. They acted on His behalf and forcibly took Lot, his wife and their two daughters out of Sodom before destroying Sodom, Gomorrah and the three other cities nearby in the valley of Siddim—Admah, Zeboiim and Bela (Zoar) as cited in Genesis 14:8.
“Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all thevalley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.” (Genesis 19:24-25)
We hear the words Come up hither again later in Revelation chapter 11; the Two Witnesses are raptured during the Tribulation. But that is the only rapture within the time span of the seven-year Tribulation prior to Christ’s Second Coming.
“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, ‘Come up hither. And they went up into heaven in the cloud; and their enemies beheld them.’” (Revelation 11:12).
These are the major positions that exist regarding the Rapture. (The Pre-Tribulation Rapture is the correct one):
Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaches Jesus Christ will rapture the Church before the start of the Tribulation.
Mid-Tribulation Rapture teaches Jesus Christ will rapture the Church at the mid-point of the Tribulation.
Post-Tribulation Rapture teaches Jesus Christ will rapture the Church at the end of the Tribulation.
Pre-Wrath Rapture teaches Jesus Christ will rapture the Church near the end of the Tribulation just before the pouring out of the wrath of God through the seven bowl plagues (Revelation 16:1).
It is important to note that nowhere in Scripture do we read that the Tribulation is anyone else’s “wrath” other than God Almighty’s and His alone. The prophesied seven-year Tribulation is God’s wrath pouring down upon an out-of-control God-rejecting world.
The terror of the Antichrist fueled by Satan is a by-product of mankind’s rejection of God, and cannot be substantiated with Scripture as Antichrist’s, Satan’s and mankind’s wrath—unless one inserts extra-biblical ideas into the text creating a false doctrine.
And there is another major and obvious problem with any of the Rapture positions outside of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture:
Jesus does not make any appearances in Scripture during the Tribulation until the marriage of the Lamb in chapter 19 which eliminates the idea of the Rapture event taking place anytime other than prior to the Tribulation.
Jesus comes to earth before the Tribulation begins to take His Church off the planet, and He returns at the end of the Tribulation at the Second Coming with His Church (Revelation 19:11-14).
The rapture of Enoch and Elijah are symbolic of the Church being raptured before Daniel’s Seventieth Week (the Tribulation) begins. These biblically recorded events are symbolic of the Church being removed before the God pours out his wrath upon the godless inhabitants of earth—the unsaved masses that remain after the Rapture of the Church.
The rapture of Enoch is not specifically called a rapture but from the following Scripture we can see that he was raptured. The Scripture simply says, “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).
Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire in a whirlwind: “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11).
It appears that Elijah boarded the chariot of fire which was then carried up into the sky by a whirlwind—God’s whirlwind. We cannot know exactly what chariots of fire or horses of fire are, but they are cited a number times in Scripture (2 Samuel 22:11; 2 Kings 6:17-18; Psalm 68:17; 104:3; Isaiah 66:15; Jeremiah 4:13; Ezekiel 1:4-28; 10:1-22).
The promise to the church of Philadelphia to be kept from the “hour of trial” is a promise of being raptured before the start of the Tribulation.
“Because thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10 emphasis added)
Daniel’s Seventieth Week is the “hour of trial” and all believers of the Church Age must be taken out before it begins because that is the time when God pours out His judgments—His wrath.
The promise that “God appointed us not for wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9), is a confirmation that true Christians must be raptured prior to the start of the Tribulation.
Another important point is this: The twenty-four elders seen in chapters four and five of Revelation represent believers of the Church Age—which means that the Rapture must take place by Revelation chapter four—before the Tribulation (the day of the Lord) begins.