Rapture Before The Great Tribulation
The Blessed Hope
NOAH AND THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
Matt 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
In these two verses, Jesus has told us that there is a parallel between the events of the days of Noah and the days of His second coming. Therefore, to understand the end times and the rapture of the church more fully we must study the events of the days of Noah.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Noah never saw rain, before the flood, because it never rained upon the earth before the flood; nevertheless, he believed God, and built the ark, and entered the ark, and was saved from the judgment of the flood. Therefore, we can say that Noah was saved by faith in God and His word. Likewise, we are also saved by faith in God, even though we have not seen God’s Son, Jesus Christ, we believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins, and the salvation of our souls.
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Because we believe in Jesus Christ, we are justified and saved from eternal hell; furthermore, we will escape the wrath of God just as Noah escaped the flood by believing in Christ.
JESUS CHRIST IS OUR ARK OF SAFETY
1 Pet 3:18-21 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
The Baptism spoken of here is not water baptism, but is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. To be Baptized by the Holy Spirit means to be placed into Christ, to be identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. The Holy Spirit placed us into Christ when we first believed in Christ. As Noah and his family were saved from the judgment of God by being in the ark, we are saved from the judgment of God, during the Great Tribulation as well as eternal damnation in the lake of fire, by being in Christ Jesus. As Noah entered the ark by faith, we enter into Christ, our ark of safety, by faith. Judgement and damnation are for unbelievers not believers.
Rom 6:3-5 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
1 Cor 12:12-13 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Those who believe in Jesus Christ are placed into Christ by the Holy Spirit of God, into His death, burial, and resurrection. When He died we died, when He was buried we were buried, and when He arose we arose. Therefore, those who are in Christ have all their sins forgiven, and are saved from all the judgments to come. Furthermore, just as Noah was saved by being in the ark we are saved by being in Christ Jesus, our ark of safety.
1 Cor 15:51-52 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.
The changing of believers is an event that parallels that of God closing the door of the ark. Once the rapture takes place there will no longer be access into the Church, the body of Christ, our ark of safety. The church age will come to an end at the rapture of the Church, there will no longer be a Church on earth, all true believers in Jesus Christ will be safe with Christ in His Father’s house. Just as Noah and his family were kept safe from the destruction of the flood by being in the ark, all true believers in Jesus Christ will be kept safe from the destruction of the Great Tribulation by being in Christ.
THE CLOSING OF THE DOOR OF THE ARK
IS A PICTURE PROPHECY
OF THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH
Notice: Genesis 7:1-16 must be read very carefully in order to see and understand this prophecy about the rapture of the church. I read this passage many times over the years without seeing the prophecy; specifically, that Noah and all those in the Ark were shut in by God for seven days before it began to rain, and the flood destroyed the wicked; likewise, we will be secure with Christ for seven years before the total destruction of the wicked at the end of the seven year Great Tribulation. Noah in the ark is a picture of the church in Christ.
Gen 7:1-5 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days (after seven more days), and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
It did not rain on the day that Noah entered the ark, on the day that God shut the door of the ark, but after seven more days God sent rain. Noah and his family were safe in the ark, with the door shut, for seven days before any rain fell upon the earth. God had a reason for including a seven day period of time between the closing of the ark and the beginning of the destruction of all life on earth by the flood. The reason was to give us a prophecy of the rapture of the Church before the seven year tribulation, a time when the door into the church will be shut for seven years.
Gen 7:10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
There were seven days, or seven periods of time, from the time that God closed the door of the ark until the flood came upon all the unbelievers of the earth. Parallel to that, there will be seven years, or seven periods of time, after God closes the door of the Church, our ark of safety, until the destruction of all the unbelievers at the second coming of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This is a prophecy that tells us that the church age will end when the church is raptured, and this will take place before the seven year Great Tribulation.
Gen 7:13-16 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
God brought all the creatures to Noah in the ark; Noah did not have to gather them and take them into the ark. It all happened in one day; like a parade, Noah and his family, and all the animals entered the ark, and God shut the door. It is very clear; it all happened in one day, and once the door was shut no one else could enter the ark. God will likewise gather all believers and He will shut the door of the church so no one else will ever be able to enter; the church age will be ended.
Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Dan 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
The first sixty nine of the seventy weeks of this prophecy have been completed, there remains only week to be completed. The one week spoken of here is the seventieth week, the time of Jacob’s trouble, the seven year Great Tribulation described in the book of Revelation.
* In Genesis 7:10 Noah and his family were safe in the ark for seven days, which is one week, before the rain came and destroyed all the unbelievers of the earth.
* In Daniel 9:27, one week, which is also seven days, represents a period of seven years, the seven year Great Tribulation that ends with the destruction of all unbelievers on earth.
* Genesis 7:10 is a prophetic picture of the church, during the seventieth week.
This is proof positive that the church will be raptured before the seven year Great Tribulation begins. All believers will be safe with Jesus Christ while the unbelieving people of this world will be experiencing the horrors of the Great Tribulation.
THE FIRST RAPTURE OF BELIEVERS
1Thes 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
As believers we are to wait for Jesus Christ to come from heaven, and to deliver us from the wrath to come. We are not to look for the wrath to come.
1Thes 4:13-18 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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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 (precede) them which are asleep (have died). For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
These verses speak of the rapture of the Church, the body of Christ. All church age believers will be raptured, taken up to meet the Lord in the air. Those Christians who have died before the rapture will be raised first and then those who are still alive at the time of the rapture will also be taken up to meet the Lord in the air. This will happen before the Great Tribulation begins. Furthermore, the last verse above says “Wherefore comfort one another with these words”. There is great comfort in looking for Jesus Christ to come, and to take us to be with Himself before the Great Tribulation, in knowing we will not be going through the Great Tribulation.
On the other hand, there is no comfort, but only sorrow and anguish in believing we and our loved ones will be going through the Great Tribulation. I would be extremely troubled if I thought I, my wife, my children, and grandchildren, along with all my relatives, and friends were going to enter into the horrifying Great Tribulation.
Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
God delivered Lot, the believer, from the city of Sodom, before He destroyed it, because He does not destroy the righteous with the wicked. Believers have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them; therefore, they are not wicked in God’s eyes but righteous. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us; so that, He would be justified in loving us and adopting us as sons, and not to treat us as those who hate Him; from this we know the church will not go through the Great Tribulation. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ has not only saved us from the eternal hell, but it has also saved us from the coming Great Tribulation.
1Thes 5:8-11 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
We already have salvation in Jesus Christ. It is great encouragement to know that God has not destined us for wrath, but for salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no encouragement in looking for the tribulation to come, but there is great encouragement in looking for Jesus Christ, to come from heaven, and to take us out of this world to be with Himself for all eternity.
II Th 2:1-10 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. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth (restrains) that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (restrains) will let ( continue to restrain), until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked (wicked one, the anti-christ) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness (deception of wickedness) in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
The Thessalonians were experiencing great persecutions; and as a result, they thought they had missed the rapture and were in the Great Tribulation. Paul assured them, that they had not missed the rapture because the Great Tribulation, the day of the Lord, the day of Christ will not come until after the lawless one, the anti-christ, is revealed. In other words, the Great Tribulation begins when the anti-christ is revealed. Furthermore, the anti-christ will not be revealed until after He who restrains is taken out of the way. Therefore, since the restrainer, the Holy Spirit of God in the Church, the body of Christ, had not yet been removed, we know the anti-christ had not yet come, and we know we are not yet in the Great Tribulation.
Matt 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Salt is a common food preservative. The Church, the body of Christ, acts as a preservative to restrain the world’s corruption. As long as the body of Christ is in the world the anti-christ will not be free to do as he wills to do. The Holy Spirit will continue to work in and through the believers as long as we are here. Furthermore, Jesus said, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18b)
Matt 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Jesus Christ lives within the believer; and as a result, His light shines through us and gives light to the world. The world is in total darkness, and does not know right from wrong. As long as the body of Christ is in the world it acts as light exposing the darkness of wickedness. The Holy Spirit will not actually leave the earth, but He will stop working through the Church, the body of Christ on earth, when the church is raptured. Because the Holy Spirit is God, He is everywhere, and always will be. In the old testament days, He came upon men of God to empower them to do the will of God, and He also gave the word of God to the prophets. In the church age, He indwells and empowers everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, and also gives us understanding of the word of God. In the future Great Tribulation, He will still be on the earth bringing salvation to those who will believe, but He will not be restraining as He is today, in the church age.
SECOND RAPTURE OF BELIEVERS
Matt 24:29-31 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.
These verses are speaking of a second rapture after the Great Tribulation. The gathering of God’s elect, is the resurrection of the saints who were saved and died during the Great Tribulation. Many people will come to believe in Jesus Christ during the Great Tribulation, and many of them will die at the hands of the anti-christ, these will be caught up in the second rapture.
Rev 6:9-10 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
These are the believers who die during the tribulation and then are raptured, that is resurrected, after the tribulation.
Rev 20:4 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.
This verse, Rev 20:4, refers to the believers who were slain as recorded in Rev 6:9-10; they will be raptured after the tribulation. They will be gathered together as it says in Matt 24:31.
Note: there are wicked false teachers, wolves in sheeps clothing, who claim a person will be able to receive the mark of the beast during the Great Tribulation and still be saved; that is a lie of Satan. Those who refuse to worship the image of the beast and receive the mark will be killed, and those who take the mark will go to hell.
REMOVAL OF THE WICKED
AT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
Matt 13:36-43 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
From the parable of the wheat and the tares we learn that the unbelievers will be gathered to be destroyed, at the end of the age, and the believers will continue to live on into the kingdom. Even today, God is allowing the tares, the unbelieving enemies of God to do evil in this world; but the day is coming, when they will be removed from the earth, and sent into damnation, in hell forever.
Matt 13:47-50 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever (remove) the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Here again we see that at the end of the Great Tribulation the angels will remove the wicked from the earth and cast them into hell before the beginning of the kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth.
Matt 24:38-42 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
This passage does not speak of the rapture of the church, but it speaks of the destruction of all unbelievers at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. All unbelievers, who survive the Great Tribulation will be removed from the face of the earth, when our Lord comes again; just as, all the unbelievers were removed from the face of the earth, by the flood, in the days of Noah. There will be some people left alive on the earth when Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom; the unbelievers will be removed by death from the earth, and the living believers will continue on to repopulate the earth during the Kingdom Age. No unbeliever will survive the Great Tribulation, and be allowed to enter the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth.
THE BLESSED HOPE
II Th 2:16-17 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
There is no comfort at all in believing that we are going to go into the Great Tribulation, but there is great comfort in knowing we are not destined to go into the Great Tribulation. The knowledge that we are going to be raptured before the Great Tribulation gives us peace of mind and motivates us to live for God, to do good works, to tell others about salvation from the penalty of sin, through faith in Jesus Christ, and to look forward to a glorious future with Jesus Christ forever.
I Jn 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
If we live in hope of seeing Jesus Christ we will live a pure and productive life. If we do not look for His return we will not live a productive life; but instead, we will live in anxiety trying to prepare ourselves to somehow survive the Great Tribulation. In reality, there is only one way to prepare for the Great Tribulation; and that is, through trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. All who trust in Him will be raptured before the Great Tribulation begins, and no true believer will be disappointed.
1Thes 1:9-10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
We do not wait for the anti-christ and the Great Tribulation; but, we wait for Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to come from heaven, and to take us to be with Himself, in His Father’s house in Heaven, before the Great Tribulation.
John 14:3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Jesus gave us this promise, to return for us someday, to receive us unto Himself, and to take us to heaven to His Father’s house were we will be for all eternity.
Rev 19:11-16 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
No matter what a person believes about the rapture of the Church one thing is certain, Jesus Christ is coming back to this world and He is not coming in weakness as He did the first time, but He is coming as KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
JESUS IS RETURNING SOON! ARE YOU READY?
John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is God Almighty, the creator of all that exist.
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ has everlasting life, but everyone who reject Jesus Christ is already condemned for not believing in Him. Trusting in Jesus Christ is the only way to escape the Great Tribulation, and not only the Great Tribulation but also separation from God forever, in the lake of fire, that burns forever.