The Pre-Wrath Rapture

The last session dealing with the Day of the Lord, was significant in that it taught how the “Day of the Lord” and the rapture are connected. It taught that there are 3 themes which surround the Biblical teaching of the Day of the Lord – in the Old Testament, New Testament and in the book of Revelation.

3 Themes in Revelation

Understanding more about the Day of the Lord led us to connect the teaching of the rapture with the teaching about the Day of the Lord, and we asked the question…

 Day of the Lord & Rapture Same?

We found that in the Apostle Paul’s teaching about the rapture, he called the event “The Day of the Lord.”

1 Thess 4:17

1 Thess 5:1

Paul, himself, called his teaching about the saints being “caught up” together with Jesus in the clouds the “Day of the Lord!” We ended the last session by stating that if this is true then four things will validate this teaching…

  • All Prophecies will naturally fit

  • All Prophecies will harmonize

  • All Problems with other views will be answered

  • There will be no scriptural contradictions

All Prophecies Naturally Fit

There are 6 major passages in the New Testament that deal with the second coming of Christ. These are:

  • Matthew 24

  • Mark 13

  • Luke 17

  • Luke 21

  • 1 & 2 Thessalonians

  • Revelation

Let us look at each of these passages and find out if they support the teaching of the Day of the Lord.

Mat 24:29-31 (NIV) Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ {30} At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. {31} And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (emphasis added)

Here we see the sign of the Day of the Lord, Jesus returning and His elect being gathered (rapture!?!).

Mark 13:24-27 (NIV) “But in those days, following that distress, “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; {25} the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ {26} “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. {27} And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. (emphasis added)

Again, the Day of the Lord appears in Mark. Luke 17 does not mention the sign but does include some very important information that we will look at closely, but Luke 21 does follow the same pattern.

Luke 21:25-28 (NIV) “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. {26} Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. {27} At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. {28} When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (emphasis added)

Again, the three themes – including the sign of the Day of the Lord – appear together. Although Acts is not one of the major passages, the three themes also appear there.

Acts 2:20-21 NIV) The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. {21} And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ (emphasis added)

The book of Revelation also follows this same pattern of the teaching of the Day of the Lord.

Rev 6:12-17 (NIV) I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, {13} and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. {14} The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. {15} Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. {16} They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! {17} For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (emphasis added)

Rev 7:9 (NIV) After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. {10} And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (emphasis added)

We have already seen how in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians the teaching supports the Day of the Lord, in fact, the Apostle Paul actually calls the rapture – the Day of the Lord. We have seen how all prophecies harmonize including the themes of the Day of the Lord. Now let’s look at Luke 17.

All Prophecies Harmonize?

Luke 17:26-27 (NIV) Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. {27} People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. (emphasis added)

This same thought is repeated in Matthew…

Matt 24:37-39 (NIV) As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. {38} For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; {39} and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (emphasis added)

I have heard many sermons on Noah and Lot, but the idea that was always conveyed was that the world was going on just as it always had until judgment came – people were eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. The thought I have heard preached is the unexpected nature of Christ’s return. But this is not what this passage is teaching.

Noah and Lot

The idea this passage is teaching is that judgment and deliverance came on a single day. This becomes even more apparent when we look back at the Genesis story.

Gen 7:1-4 (NIV) The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. {2} Take with you seven… {4} Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” (emphasis added)

In Genesis God begins by telling Noah that in seven days the judgment flood will come. Many have used this verse to support a Pre-Tribulation view that just as God warned Noah that the flood would come in seven days, the rapture will happen at the beginning of the seven years. The problem is that the story does not unfold that way.

 Noah and Lot - Genesis

For, we are told a few verses later in the story…

Gen 7:12-13 (NIV) And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. {13} On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. (emphasis added)

Again the lesson is that on the same day deliverance for God’s people and judgment for the wicked come. Now back to Luke 17…

Luke 17:29-35 (NIV) But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. {30}It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. {31}On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. {32} Remember Lot’s wife! {33} Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. {34} I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. {35} Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.”

On a Single Day

On a single day, in both cases, God delivered His people while pouring judgment out on the wicked. Luke 17 makes an amazing statement comparing this to Jesus’ return…

Luke 17:30

So, when Jesus is revealed at His return, on a single day God’s people will be delivered and judgment will be poured out on the wicked. This describes the Day of the Lord. God will rapture His people and that will initiate the Day of the Lord when God will pour out His wrath upon this world.

And this is called…

The Pre-Wrath View

2 Pet 2:5-7,9 (NIV) if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; {6} if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; {7} and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men {9} if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

Does the book of Revelation support the Pre-Wrath view of the end-times?

 Rev 6:12-17 (NIV) I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earth-quake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, {13} and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. {14} The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. {15} Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. {16} They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! {17} For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (emphasis added)

Rev 7:9-10 (NIV) After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. {10} And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (emphasis added)

In the book of Revelation we are explicitly told that this sign of the sun, moon and stars signals the day of the wrath of the Lamb. Immediately after the day of wrath begins, we find this multitude in heaven that no one can count from every tribe and nation. It is interesting that they are wearing robes and have palm branches in their hands, therefore they must have resurrected bodies. Who else could this multitude be except the raptured saints from all the ages!

Now there is one other point to consider as we look at Noah…

Mat 24:39-41 (NIV) and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. {40} Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. {41} Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Dictionary - Airo

I have heard many discussions and speculations on the verb “take” in this passage. Some question has been raised at the connection between those “taken” in the flood and those “taken” at the coming of the Son of man. Some have speculated that since those in the flood were taken to destruction, it is those “left” who will meet the Lord. However, what we don’t see is that these are two different verbs in the original language. For those taken in the flood the verb is “airo,” which means “to take away” or “remove.”

 Dictionary - paralambano

The second verb is different. It is the word “paralambano” which means “to take along,” “receive,” or “accept.” Therefore this verse is saying that those “taken” in the flood were “removed” while those “taken” at the coming of the Son of man were “received.”

Noah and Lot Comparison

Matt 24:36-39 (NIV) No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. {37} As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. {39}and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (emphasis added)

All Prophecies Harmonize!

2 Thess 1:4-10 (NIV) Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. {5} All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. {6} God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you {7} and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. {8} He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. {9} They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power {10} on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (emphasis added)

Prophecies Make Sense?

 Witness Ministries

NEXT CHAPTER H: THE TIMING OF THE RAPTURE

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