The “Rapture” is one of the simplest concepts found in the Holy Bible. So mote a point was it that the Apostles, who walked with our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, didn’t even bother to make it a doctrine. Nor should it be! It’s only when we add our own opinions and perspectives into it, does the Rapture become a confusing issue.
Before we begin looking at the scriptures which will prove the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church, 2 points need to be explained:
1) Has God ever “punished the righteous with the unrighteous?” The answer is a very simple…no! Tear through the scriptures if you will and try to find just one righteous person who was punished along with the unrighteous. You will be wasting your time because no such event has ever occurred. And when we apply a little bit of common sense, then it wouldn’t make sense for such an event to occur. Who would want to worship a God who would unjustifiably punish a righteous person with unrighteous people who have earned such punishments?!
2) The next point I will make is through a question: “What is an appointment?” By definition, an appointment is a time and a place someone is supposed to be for something to happen. One very quick and easy example: you have an appointment made with your doctor which means that “appointment” commits you to be “at a time and a place” to see him. Simple enough!
In I Thess. 5:9 it reads: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath…” In other words, we are not designated to have “a time or a place” where we will have to face the wrath of God. There will be those times where God will punish us for something we’ve done but, facing the whole of the wrath of God is something else.
Why aren’t we appointed to face the wrath of God? What makes us (Born-Again Christians) so special that we avoid such an event? The answer is found in Jn. 3:36. It reads: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Because we are saved we do not face the “wrath of God” nor have “an appointment to face His wrath.” Those who are not saved not only have “the wrath of God” abiding on them, but many will also “drink of the wine of the wrath of God” (Rev. 14:10).
We also find out “…the wrath of God…” is going to be poured out “…upon the earth...” (Rev. 16:1 – 17). Since the Bible already clearly pointed out that “God hath not appointed us unto wrath” then we cannot be present during the Tribulation Period since His wrath is going to be poured out upon the whole of the earth. It’s that straightforward; it’s that clear cut:
1) We do not have an appointment to face the wrath of God.
2) Which means we cannot be here during the Tribulation Period,
3) Because the wrath of God is going to be poured out upon the whole of the earth.
Only when we begin to put in “our opinions” or “our perspective” does the Rapture, which is so straightforward, become unclear. Quite frankly, “If God wanted our opinion He would’ve asked for it!”
The Definition of the word Rapture
The word Rapture is derived from the Greek word harpazo. This word, harpazo, has many meanings to it but each of them has a similar definition. This word is used 17 times and in 13 verses in the Greek New Testament, and you’re about to see that they’re used in a number of different ways, yet, they each hold to a very similar definition:
1) In Mt. 13:19 and Jn. 10:12 the word “catcheth” is the Greek word “harpazo” which, in those two cases means “carry off”.
2) In Mt. 11:12 where the words read “take” and “by force” the Greek word “harpazo” is literally (verbatim) translated to mean “take” (for the word “take”) and “by force” (for the words “by force”). This occurs once again, with the same words “take” and “by force” in Jn. 6:15 and the Greek word “harpazo” is once again applied for both words (“take” and “by force”).
3) In Acts 23:10, where is reads “take him” and “by force”, the Greek word “harpazo” is first defined as “to take” and then next defined as “forcibly”.
3) In Jn. 10: 28 and Jn. 10:29 the word “pluck” is the Greek word “harpazo” which means, in those two verses, “to take”.
4) In Jude 23 the word “pulling” is the Greek word “harpazo” which is translated to mean “to lead away”.
5) In Acts 8:39 the words “caught away” is the Greek word “harpazo” which means “carry(ied) caught away”.
6) In I Thes. 4:17 and Rev. 12:5 when the words “caught up” are being used, they’re the Greek word “harpazo” which means “caught up”. That was an easy one to translate.
7) In II Cor. 12:2 and II Cor. 12:4 where it reads “caught up”; they too are the Greek word “harpazo” which means “caught up”.
8) In Jn. 10:12 where the word “catcheth” is used, it’s the Greek word “harpazo” which means “catch”.
I’m sure by now you can easily see that the Greek word “harpazo” has several different words used to translate it into English, however the definition revolves around the same meaning: “something or someone that is being physically removed or relocated”. This is the essence of the word “harpazo” and is applicable to all 17 examples in those 13 verses. And we shall be using the words “physically removed” as our general definition for the word Rapture. If we were to try and use all the various different words for Rapture, such as: catch up, take by force, catch away, pluck, catch, pull, to seize, carry off by force, to seize on, to snatch out, to snatch away, etc. we’d all be crazy by the time we were finished with this study. Suffice it to say, we shall use the general term to “physically remove” for this study.
Before moving on any further, allow me to explain something to you. In our normal, everyday conversation, we never use the word “harpazo” unless we’re having a Greek conversation. Instead, we will use the word “Rapture”. Now, the word “Rapture” is the Latin word for the Greek word “harpazo” and it carries with it the same meaning. This is simply a transliteration, which means translating the spelling of a word into another language. In other words:
1) “harpazo” is a Greek word (which when we transliterate it into Latin becomes the word “rapio”)
2) “rapio” is a Latin word (which when we transliterate it into English becomes the word “rapture”)
3) “rapture” is an English word (All 3 words, “harpazo”, “rapio”, and “rapture” have the same meaning). They just have a different origin in a different language. And that’s it! The meaning remains unchanged.
There are those people who will say (and I’ve heard this one plenty of times over decades) that the word “Rapture” doesn’t appear in the Bible. First of all, the word “Bible” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Yet, I still know I’m reading a “Bible”. So that excuse is foolish and juvenile at best.
The word “Rapio”, which is where we derive the English word “Rapture” from, is found in the Bible; the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible to be precise.
Another group of people out there have told me that the word “Rapture” is a word that has only been recently used and applied in any Biblical sense; such as the Church is going to be raptured before the Tribulation Period, or in any Biblical meaning of the word. And this is one of those times when my Christian feathers really begin to get ruffled because those people have either: not studied the literary applications of the word Rapture, or they’re just lying to you, knowingly or unknowingly. In either case, they would be lying to you. And they have quite a number of reasons to lie to you, and none of them are good reasons.
If you want to immediately get into the heart of this study, please scroll down to where it reads “What Constitutes a Rapture”. For everyone else, I’m going to reveal to you how those people who say the Rapture is a new concept are either lying to you or, have never studied the word Rapture before.
The reason so many people are saying that the word Rapture is only a recent term for certain Biblical events, is mainly due to an event that happened back in 1830.
Back in 1830 a 15 year old girl of Irish/Scottish decent named Margaret McDonald, had a vision of a “Post-Tribulation” Rapture. Notice carefully, her vision was a “Post-Tribulation” vision and not a “Pre-Tribulation” Rapture. She said:
1) “This is the fiery trial which is to try us – It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus.”
2) “The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept.”
Notice carefully how Margaret stated that this fiery trial (the Tribulation Period) is meant to try the real members of the body of Jesus. And, note especially, Margaret tells us this trying comes from the Antichrist. Well, no matter which perspective you come from, this so-called trying of the members of the body of Jesus, could only happen during, or shortly after the Tribulation Period and “not” before it. In other words, Margaret McDonald’s so-called vision was “not” a “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” vision. Yet, so many people, False Apostles and False Teachers don’t tell you that. All they’ll usually tell you is that the Rapture of the Church teachings began with Margaret McDonald. They purposely leave out the part that hers’ was a Post-Tribulation perspective as she claims it to have been and “not” a Pre-Tribulation Rapture perspective.
It is from the vision of Margaret McDonald, that John Nelson Darby, in 1861, supposedly used the word “Rapture” to describe what Margaret had seen once he had heard of her so-called vision. This would mean that the word Rapture (as a Biblical application) originated back in 1861 and no sooner. That is utter and complete nonsense, and I am going to prove it! I am going to start in the 20th century and work myself all the way back to the 4th century and show all of you good folks, who are reading this article, that the Biblical applications for the word Rapture is much older than 1861.
Historical usages of the word “Rapture”
The following is only a partial list of literary works that contain a Biblical application of the word Rapture. I used some examples after 1861 to show that the true understanding and application of the word Rapture was not changed, but still cherished and being held onto despite how desperately hard Satan has tried to destroy it.
1) 1909 – Scofield Reference Bible
2) 1878 – “Jesus is Coming” – William Eugene Blackstone
3) 1866 – “Hereward the Wake” – Charles Kinglsey (He was “rapt” up on high and saw Saint Peter).
4) 1748 – “New Testament Commentary” – John Gill
5) 1738 – “New Testament Commentary” – Philip Doddridge
6) 1667 – “Paradise Lost” – John Milton (“Rapt” in a Chariot drawn by fiery Steeds).
7) 1610 – “Display of Heraldry” – John Guillim (To this place…were Enoch, Elias and Paul “rapt” up fore their deaths).
8) 1526 – “Pilgrim of Perfection” – William Bond (When he was “rapt” & taken up in to the thryde heuen) Note* - from the Middle English, thryde heuen is rendered to be…”third heaven”
9) 1432 – 1450 – “Polychronicon” – Ranulf Higden (Helyas was “rapte” in this tyme).
10) 1412 – 1420 – “Chronicle of Troy” – John Lydgate (in this wyse were the brethren twayne To heauen “rapt”, as these poetes fayne). Note* - from the Middle English this sentence would read as: “in this wise were the two brothers to Heaven raptured,” into our Modern Day English.
11) 1400 – “Vernon Manuscript” – “By visions of seynt poul when he was “rapt” into paradys) Note * - from the Middle English it would read into our Modern Day American English as: “By visions of Saint Paul when he was ‘rapt’ (raptured) into Paradise.”
12) 325 – Latin Vulgate – “rapio” (I Thes. 4:17)
The reason there are a number of various ways to spell “rapture” over the centuries of English speaking nations is based on linguistic evolution. In other words, as languages change, so do the spelling of certain words. In the case of the word “rapture”:
1) The Ancient Latin is “rapio/rapere” and other such usages
2) In the Early English Period (1066 – 1154) “rapture” was spelled “rapt”
3) In the Middle English Period (1154 – 1485) “rapt” would be spelled as “rapte”
4) And, nowadays, we would spell the word as “rapture”
There is nothing more to it than that! It is simply a matter of linguistic evolution or change.
The Historical Concept of “Pre-Tribulation Rapture”
The blatant lie (knowingly or unknowingly) that the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church is a new concept that can only be traced back to 1830 is simply that…a lie! I shall now present to you good people another literary list and, this one will prove, once and for all, that the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church if “not” a new concept, but was a teaching that came directly from the Apostles themselves. This list will begin “before” 1830” and turn all the way back to the 1st Century A.D.
1) 1792 – Thomas Scott – he taught that the righteous will be carried to Heaven where they will be secure until the time of the judgment is over.
2) 1763 – James Macknight – he also taught that the righteous will be carried to heaven until the judgment is over with.
3) 1748 – John Gill (Commentary on the New Testament) – teaches of the imminent return of Christ, firstly in Rapture, and then He will return again to judge the earth (Armageddon).
4) 1744 – Morgan Edwards (founder of the Ivy League School, Brown University) wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” beliefs.
5) 1738 – Phillip Doddrige (Commentary on the New Testament) teaches along the same lines of John Gill; a “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” perspective.
6) 1687 – Peter Jurieu – (“Approaching Deliverance of the Church”) Christ would return during the Rapture and take His saints to Heaven and later return at the Battle of Armageddon.
7) 1674 – 1748 – Isaac Watts (known as the Father of the English Hymn) wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” belief. (As a side note, Isaac Watts was solely responsible for writing over 1,000 Christian hymns if I recall the numbers correctly. Study his life because it was truly a miraculous one by all definitions of the word).
8) 1674 – Thomas Collier – makes reference in the belief to the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture”.
9) 1532 – 1591 – Francisco Rivera wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church beliefs
10) 431 – 1500 – Any mention of Pre-Tribulation (Millennial) Rapture of the Church perspectives are outlawed by the Catholic Church and deemed heretical and punishable by death!!!
11) 431 – The Council of Ephesus; the Catholic Church decrees and condemns Pre-Millennial views as heresy. Books and such are destroyed or altered.
The following all wrote of the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church:
12) 354 – 430 – Augustine, Bishop of North Africa
13) 306 – 373 – Ephraem of Nisibus
14) ? - 204 – Victorinus, Bishop of Petau
15) 200 – 258 - Cyrian
16) 170 – 236 – Hippolytus of Rome
17) 150 – 272 – Apocalypse of Elijah (an Extra-Biblical book)
18) 120 – 202 – Ireaneus (“Against Heresies”)
19) 36 – 108 – Ignatius of Antioch, the Third Bishop and Patriarch of Antioch (who as a student of John the Apostle) – His “Letters of Extra-Biblical works are:
a. Letter to the Ephesians
b. Letter to the Magnesians
c. Letter to the Trallians
d. Letter to the Romans
e. Letter to the Philadelphians
f. Letter to the Smyrnaeans
g. Letter to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna
20. ? – 99 A.D. – Clement of Rome, “Letter to the Corinthians” also known as “I Clement” (an Extra-Biblical book).
And let me say for the record: “I personally challenge those of the Mid-Tribulation perspective or Post-Tribulation perspective to come up with a literary list, such as I had just presented, that will demonstrate their belief.” This is my personal challenge!
Even though the Catholic Church tried to destroy and suppress any writings or teachings on the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church, which is easily dated all the way back to the Apostles themselves, they had failed. The “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church, which is the “oldest” of all the Biblical perspectives, could not be stopped. It originates with the Apostles of Jesus Christ during the first century, taught to their students, and continues on to this very day. The Mid-Tribulation and Post-Tribulation teachings (which are grossly false ones) are the new teachings and not the original teaching of Jesus Christ, nor of His chosen Apostles or their students. Those are teachings and creations of man and not of God.
Now, let’s move on to those events which we understand to be “Raptures”.
What Constitutes a Rapture?
I really like the way my Pastor, Mike Hoggard, preaches and teaches. He will show you patterns in numbers, words, and in Biblical verses throughout the Bible. And that’s what we’re going to do next. We’re going to try to see if there is a Biblical pattern for the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” perspective. But before we do, let me ask you this: “What makes a Rapture, a Rapture?” That’s a silly question some people might say. But think about it for a moment. When I have asked this question to my brothers and sisters in the past, 99% of them tell me, “It’s when Christ is coming back in the clouds to take us away.” And they answer the question like that because they did not consider what I was asking. I will ask “What is “a” Rapture, not what is “the next Rapture”. You see my dear brothers and sisters, there have been many Raptures in the past as you will shortly find out.
What constitutes a Rapture? Only 3 simple things:
1) God physically removes
2) Those whom He declares to be righteous
3) Outside of His impending judgment
These are the three hallmarks that can be found within an event that we can label as a Rapture. There is only one exception to this rule that I know of, but we’ll get to that one later on. For now, remember that: 1) God physically removes, 2) Those whom He declares to be righteous, 3) Outside of His impending judgment.”
Before anyone starts to jump out of their shell, hear this matter all the way through and look at the Biblical pattern for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. Remember, Scriptures says: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Now, let’s look for that Biblical pattern on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
Noah and the Ark
In Gen. 6 we find out that man’s wickedness was great and that every thought of theirs was evil (Gen. 6:5). And because of this God was going to destroy His own creation (Gen. 6:7). However, God instructs Noah to build an ark (Gen. 6:14 – 16) where his (Noah) family will be kept safe from the impending flood.
The big question at this point is, “Is this a Rapture?” It most certainly is. Let’s apply the 3 principles of “what constitutes a Rapture” and see how they fit in.
1) “God physically removed” (Noah and his family into the ark)
2) “Those whom He declares to be righteous” (Gen. 7:1 tells us that Noah and his house were righteous before God)
3) “Outside of His impending judgment” (Gen. 7:23 shows us the end result of God judgment upon His creation)
Beyond any shadow of a doubt, the events surrounding Noah and the Flood constitute a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Noah and his family were removed “before” God’s judgment hit the earth. Are there any other examples of such Raptures? Of course there are. Let’s move on.
Lot and the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah
In Gen. 18 we read that 3 men (or angels, one of whom it is believed was Jesus Christ) pay Abraham a visit. After it has been revealed that Sarah will bear a son (even though she is well beyond the ability to conceive a child) the 3 men rise up and begin to walk towards Sodom (Gen. 18:17). Once it had been revealed that the 3 men intend to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their unbounded sins (Gen. 18:20) Abraham tries to intervene.
In Gen. 18:23 – 24 Abraham asks a very revealing question that is extremely pertinent to this study. To me, it reads as if Abraham was absolutely horrified about what could happen. He asked, “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” This was a concept that seemed almost outside of Abraham’s ability to comprehend. As it should’ve been! Remember, God doesn’t punish the righteous with the unrighteous (wicked). This is why Abraham was so afraid of what might have happened. Gen. 18:25 tells us that, according to Abraham’s understand, God just doesn’t work like that. Abraham says, “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…” In other words, “you don’t judge people like that. The righteous are different from the wicked and do not deserve to be punished.”
To further his cause, Abraham from Gen. 18: 24 – 32 is petitioning the Lord not to destroy Sodom if there are righteous people found in it. Abraham asks:
1a) Gen. 18:24 – if there are 50 righteous people, will you destroy Sodom?
1b) Gen. 18:26 – the Lord says if there are 50 righteous people I won’t touch the place.
2a) Gen. 18:28 – if there are 45 righteous people, will you destroy Sodom?
2b) Gen. 18:28 – the Lord says if there are 45 righteous people I won’t touch the place.
3a) Gen. 18:30 – if there are 30 righteous people, will you destroy Sodom?
3b) Gen. 18:30 – the Lord says if there are 30 righteous people I won’t touch the place.
4a) Gen. 18:31 – if there are 20 righteous people, will you destroy Sodom?
4b) Gen. 18:31 – the Lord says if there are 20 righteous people I won’t touch the place.
5a) Gen. 18:32 – if there are 10 righteous people, will you destroy Sodom?
5b) Gen. 18:32 – the Lord says if there are 10 righteous people I won’t touch the place.
Now this exchange could’ve gone all the way down to 1 and still the Lord wouldn’t have touched the place, and such is the case as you will shortly see.
In Gen. 19 two of the angels visit Lot and tell him what they’re about to do. In Gen. 19:12 the angels instruct Lot to find his son in laws, his son, his daughters and such and tell them all what is about to happen. It is evening time at this point and Lot only has until the morning to warn his relatives and to get them out of there. Unfortunately, no one listened. In Gen. 19:15, when the morning comes, the angels are, basically, telling Lot to “Move It” because judgment is about to hit Sodom.
In Gen. 19:16 Lot is lingering and, knowing that God’s wrath is about to be unleashed, the angels grab Lot and his family by the hand and almost drags them out of the place. They are instructed to flee to the mountains and not to look back upon Sodom as it is being destroyed. We find out in Gen. 19:24 – 25 that Sodom, Gomorrah, all the inhabitants and the entire area (plains) are completely wiped out!
In Gen. 19:19 Abraham tells the angels that he doesn’t want to escape to the mountains because he’s afraid something will happen to them along the way. He suggests that, instead of sending him to the mountains to send them all to the small City of Zoar (Gen. 19:22). The response from the angels reveals a lot of information to us if we read it carefully. In Gen. 19:21 (to paraphrase it) the angels state that they will allow Lot and his family to go to Zoar and (even though it was going to be overthrown) that it would not be overthrown now because Lot will be living inside of it.
So, why wasn’t Sodom overthrown before? And, why was Zoar no longer going to be overthrown? Simple; because Lot lived in Sodom and was moving to Zoar. Lot’s presence is what prevented both cities from being touched.
1) Lot lived in Sodom which prevented it from being destroyed.
2) Once Lot was told to relocate to another city then Sodom could be destroyed.
3) The City of Zoar was no longer going to be overthrown. Why?
4) Lot was going to move into Zoar.
What’s the connection? What was so special about Lot that, wherever he lived, the places remained untouched by God’s just judgment? “Lot was righteous!” In 2 Pet. 2:7 – 8 it tells us that Lot was a “righteous man”. And, let’s not forget that the angels revealed to Abraham that Sodom would not be touched if righteous people were found in it. Once Lot, who was righteous, had been removed then Sodom could face the judgment of God.
Do those events which happened in Sodom constitute another Rapture? Again, yes!
1) God physically removed (Lot and his family)
2) Those whom He declares to be righteous (II Pet. 2:8 – 9 tells us Lot was righteous)
3) Outside of His impending judgment (Gen. 19:24 – 25 tells us the end result of God’s judgment upon the entire area of Sodom and Gomorrah).
Once again, we have another Rapture! All the elements, which constitute a Rapture, are found in those events surrounding the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. But, let’s move on.
Moses and the 10 Plagues of Egypt
When going through the events leading to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah it had been revealed to us, through the angelic messengers, that because righteousness (Lot) was found in the City of Sodom, that God could not judge the place until that righteousness (Lot) had been removed. Only after “righteous” Lot had been “Raptured” out of Sodom could God then punish it. Plus, the City of Zoar, which appeared to have been on the list of those cities to be destroyed, was spared its destruction because “righteous” Lot was going to move into that place. The angelic messengers had given us such a critical piece of information pertaining to “What Constitutes a Rapture.” In short: “those whom are righteous must first be removed before God will punish a place with His judgment.”
In the story surrounding the events of Moses’ confrontation with Pharaoh, we are going to see another snippet of information that will further our understanding into what makes a Rapture, a Rapture.
After Moses had met God as a burning bush (Ex. 3:3 – 5), he is given orders to free the Israelites who had been kept as prisoners in an occult, polytheistic society for 430 years (Ex. 12:41). The rod which Moses had been carrying (Ex. 4:4) is blessed with Divine powers and, once he meets up with his brother Aaron, they go to deliver God’s message to Pharaoh.
In Ex. 7:7 we learn that Moses is 80 and Aaron is 83 when they begin to confront Pharaoh. Once they had finished confronting Pharaoh with the first 3 plagues (the rod turning in a serpent, Ex. 7:10, the waters being turned into blood, Ex. 7:20 and the frogs being called out of the waters, Ex. 8:6) something very vital is revealed that is extremely important to our study of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
In Ex. 8:20 – 23 Moses is instructed by God to tell Pharaoh to let His people go or he will send swarm of flies throughout all of Egypt. Now, it’s in verse 22 that we find out something very, very important. God tells us that He “…will sever in that day the land of Goshen, no swarms of flies shall be there…”
God had just “separated” the land of Goshen from the rest of Egypt. And, in order to really get the full impact of what was going on, please take a look at Figure 1
. Notice how the Land of Goshen is in the uppermost, Northern section of Egypt. This was the land that had been given to the House of Joseph by Pharaoh (Gen. 47:6), and it was the best of all the land of Egypt. But, in Ex. 1:8 – 14, we find out that the new king turned all of the Israelis into slaves and kept them as such in Goshen. And, it is commonly believed that it was Pharaoh Ramses II that was ruling over Egypt at the time the 10 plagues were wiping out that area.
. Notice how the Land of Goshen is in the uppermost, Northern section of Egypt. This was the land that had been given to the House of Joseph by Pharaoh (Gen. 47:6), and it was the best of all the land of Egypt. But, in Ex. 1:8 – 14, we find out that the new king turned all of the Israelis into slaves and kept them as such in Goshen. And, it is commonly believed that it was Pharaoh Ramses II that was ruling over Egypt at the time the 10 plagues were wiping out that area.
To further emphasize His point, God tells us in Ex. 8:23 that He “…will put a division between my people and thy people…” God had made it abundantly clear that, not only had He separated His people (the Israelis) from the Egyptians, but also the land they lived in (the Land of Goshen). In other words, “God had physically removed” the Israelis to the Land of Goshen. And, it’s this separation or, “physical removal” that constitutes the first part of “What Constitutes a Rapture.”
The second part of what makes a Rapture a Rapture, is that there has to be a declaration of righteousness. Had God ever declared those Israelis that were held captive in Egypt righteous? Yes! In Rom. 4:11 we find out that all of those Israelis had the “seal of righteousness” upon them through Abraham. It was through Abraham that circumcision began and went throughout all of Israel. And, in verse 11 you’ll find out that this “righteousness” was something that was imputed, or given to them. Circumcision was a “physical (outward) sign” of their “faith in God”. When you read through Rom. 4:11 – 13 carefully, you’ll soon discover that the “seal of righteousness” given to the Israelis, was both a “physical and a spiritual sign.” So because the Israelis had “righteousness” upon them, they met the second criteria of “What makes a Rapture a Rapture.”
The third part of “What Constitutes a Rapture”, where people are “outside of God’s judgment” (or removed), begins in Ex. 8:22. God Himself states that “…swarms of flies shall be not there (Goshen)…” In Ex. 9:3 – 6 the cattle, the horses, the asses, the camels, the oxen and the sheep of Egypt are stricken with a murrain (possibly a form of what we nowadays call anthrax). Yet, in verse 6 we find out that this murrain did not touch the cattle of the Israelites. This is the physical proof that God did not physically touch even the cattle of the Israelis. Why? Because during a Rapture there is a division; a separation as had already been revealed in Ex. 8:22 & 23.
During the 10 Plagues of Egypt another Rapture had occurred:
1) God physically removes (the Israelis into the Land of Goshen)
2) Those whom He declares to be righteous (the Israelis had the “seal of righteousness” upon them)
3) Outside of His impending judgment (the 10 Plagues of Egypt)
Once again, all the elements for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture are in place. And this time, God even told us in His own words part of what constitutes a Rapture; there is a division or, a separation of those people who are declared righteous from the unrighteous (or wicked).
We will be looking at other Raptures later on in this article but, for now, let’s move onto “the next Rapture” that is going to occur in our timeframe.
The Next Rapture
The next Rapture that will happen is found in I Thess. 4:16 – 18. It reads as follows:
“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.”
To further emphasize the eventuality of this next Rapture, the Bible tells us in I Cor. 15:51 – 53:
“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.”
There are other verses in the Bible that will add to the understanding of this next Rapture but, what we need to look at now is: “Does this next Rapture fit in with the scriptural pattern that constitutes a Rapture?” And, like all the other ones, it does. And trust me Brothers and Sisters, I could write a book on this topic alone but, that would deprive you of the pleasure of doing the rest of the homework yourself.
Before we continue there are two things I’d like to quickly cover. First, there are those who refer to this next Rapture as the “Secret Rapture”. Mind you, they use this term in a condescending manner because of their views and opinions. Such terminology is ridiculous and ludicrous because we know it’s going to happen, therefore it cannot be a “secret.” And, when it does happen, it’s not as if anyone is going to miss it!
The second thing I want to quickly cover is that this next Rapture is not “The Second Coming of Christ”!!! The reason this is not the Second Coming of Christ is because He does not physically touch the earth. The First Coming of Christ was when He physically walked upon the Earth during the 33 years of His life amongst us during the 1st Century A.D. The “true” “Second Coming of Christ” is when He physically arrives on the Earth again, towards the end of the Battle of Armageddon and sets down upon the Mount of Olives where is will be split in two. During this next Rapture the Lord meets us all in the air and not physically upon the Earth. Once again, there’s nothing more to it than that. Let’s move on!
Does this next Rapture contain the 3 elements necessary to constitute another Rapture that is based on the Biblical pattern that has been established up to this point? It certainly does.
1) God physically removes (I Thes. 4:17 proves that we shall be “…caught up” (the Greek word harpazo) together with them in the clouds…” A physical removal
2) Those whom He declares to be righteous (Rom. Chapters 5 & 8 thoroughly explains how Christ imbued us with “righteousness” when we became saved. Though whole books have been written on this topic alone and, humbly I will say that, I do not intend to write such a book for this article).
3) Outside of His impending judgment (I Thess. 5 9 already pointed out that we do not have an appointment to face the wrath of God):
a. Rev. 6:16 – 17 - people are fleeing and trying to hide from “the wrath of God”.
b. Rev. 11:18 – All the nations of the world become angry because “the wrath of God” has arrived and the unsaved must now be judged according to their sins.
c. Rev. 14:10 – Those who have taken the Mark of the Beast shall drink of the wine of “the wrath of God”.
d. Rev. 14:19 – 20 – the winepress of “the wrath of God” and be poured out.
e. Rev 15:1 – Rev. 16:1 – We are told that seven angels are given seven vials that are full of “the wrath of God” that will be poured out upon the whole of the earth.
f. Rev. 16:19 – 20 – the City of Babylon will have “the wrath of God” poured out upon her.
g. Rev. 19:15 – the fierceness the “the wrath of God” shall once again be seen when Christ arrives with His armies for the Battle of Armageddon.
Let’s face it! God is furious! However, God be praised, we shall not have to face His wrath because we are saved, and we are not on the earth during the Tribulation Period. And, one other thing that is especially needed to be noted here is that this next Rapture has been compared to the ones that happened during the Great Flood of Noah (Mt. 24:37 – 42) and the destruction of the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Lk. 17:26 – 29). God had thoroughly destroyed His entire creation during the Great Flood because He was so sick and tired of the earth being so sinful (one sinful thought after another), except for the righteous family of Noah, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding plains (except for righteous Lot).
What is particularly interesting is God destroyed the earth with water during the Great Flood but, promised He would never judge His creation like that ever again and established the rainbow as proof of His covenant between Himself and His creation. During the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah and the surrounding plains God destroyed them with fire. And, when we study the Book of Revelation, the world is slowing being destroyed by fire. That’s one of the main reasons why the next Rapture and the outpouring of “the wrath of God” are being compared and contrasted with Noah and Lot. God’s wrath is being poured out upon the unrighteous (as in the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah), and since He promised not to destroy the world with water, He does it with fire during this next Rapture as He did with Sodom and Gomorrah because fire is a purifying element and the whole of the earth is being purified of all the sins that had been committed upon it.
There it is Ladies and Gentlemen. Once again, during this next Rapture, the elements which constitute a Rapture have all been met.
The timing of this next Rapture is believed to occur at Rev. 4:1. And there are many good reasons for this:
1) Rev. 3:20 – 22 (right before Rev. 4:1) Christ is standing at the door and knocking. This is the Bridegroom (Christ) seeking the Bride (the Saints) and not a verse of salvation as many believe it to be. Immediately after this event the Church vanishes in Rev. 4:1.
2) From Rev. 4:1 – Rev. 19:11 (the entire Tribulation Period) the Church is not seen of again until they (you and I; saved people) come down with Christ for the Battle of Armageddon. We come down at this point because we had already been taken away at the Rapture. Only after the Second Coming of Christ at The Battle of Armageddon is the Church seen again. There will be those who will become saved during the Tribulation Period and beheaded for refusing to follow the Beast and take his Mark (Rev. 20:3), but they became saved after the Christian Church Age had ended in Rev. 3:22 and not before it had ended. So they must go through as much of the Tribulation Period as they can. And by that, I mean to say that “if they can live through it all without being martyred as they’re being hunted down by Antichrist and his followers”.
3) Since Rev. 4:1 shows us that the Church is no longer heard of again until Rev. 19:11, it fits in perfectly with the Rapture pattern of the Bible, where the righteous have been first removed before the impending judgment of God has occurred. Let’s move on.
Enoch and Elijah
We find out in Gen. 5:21 - 24 that Enoch, when he was 365 years old, had been taken by God, and I believe it was, to heaven.
In verse 24 the word “took” in Hebrew is “laqach” which means to “remove”. So, as with all the other examples of a Rapture, Enoch’s “removal” was another necessary element. In other words, Enoch was “removed” because it’s part of those elements which constitute a Rapture. And, like all the others, Enoch was physically removed. Now, please hold that thought for a minute.
In II Kgs. 2:1 we find up that “…the Lord would “take” up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind…” and that in verse 11 he went up in “…a chariot of fire…”. The Hebrew word for “take”, once again, is “laqach” which means to “remove”. So, as with any other Rapture, Elijah was physically “removed”.
There is a problem with the examples of Enoch and Elijah. They met 2 of the 3 requirements for a Rapture: they were both physically removed, and the Bible shows they were righteous but, where is the 3rd. element: “outside of God’s impending judgment”?
Both Enoch and Elijah were removed and taken up to God (as one could expect in a Rapture) but there’s was no impending judgment about to hit. The reason this element wasn’t necessary was because Enoch and Elijah are being reserved for another purpose. And I do mean reserved because neither of them had died. There was no death mentioned at all. On the surface this appears to be contrary to Heb. 9:27 where we all, actually have an appointment this time. It reads “And as it is appointed unto men once to die…” All of us have an appointment (a time and a place) to die; there are no exceptions. So, how does this fit into what happened with Enoch and Elijah?
In Rev. 11:3 – 12 we discover that 2 witnesses will prophesy for 3 ½ years. Anyone who tries to hurt them will be destroyed by fire that comes out of their mouths. They will have power to stop rain from coming, turn water into blood, and to cause plagues to occur. At the end of those 3 ½ years they will be killed by Satan and, after 3 ½ days they will be “raptured” into heaven.
I am convinced “The Two Witnesses” are “Enoch and Elijah” because both witnesses appear out of nowhere, and both witnesses will die and, then, be raptured. Enoch and Elijah never died however, in the Book of Revelation both witnesses will die.
There are those who believe that “The Two Witnesses” will be “Moses and Elijah” because the “The Two Witnesses” will be able to perform miracles:
1) Fire comes out of their mouths
2) They can stop the rain from coming
3) They will be able to turn water into blood and
4) They will be able to cause plagues to occur
It is true that Elijah stopped rain from coming and, he did play with fire (in a way when he faced the Prophets of Baal) but, Moses did not have any powers per se; the Rod (staff) of Aaron did. When Moses confronted Pharaoh and turned the water into blood and caused the plagues in Egypt to occur, it was the rod that had the power of God imbued into it, and it was Aaron who was using the rod most of the time and not Moses:
1) Ex. 7:10 – Staff turned into serpent (Aaron wielded the staff)
2) Ex. 7:19 – Water turned into blood (Aaron wielded the staff)
3) Ex. 8:5 – Frogs called out of the waters (Aaron wielded the staff)
4) Ex. 8: 16 – 17 – Lice was called forth (Aaron wielded the staff)
5) Ex. 8:21 – Flies covered the land of Egypt (Directly done by God)
6) Ex. 9:3 – A murrain (possibly anthrax) strikes the animals (Directly done by God)
7) Ex. 9:8 – 10 – Boils are produced (Aaron and Moses, though Moses had sprinkled the ashes before Pharaoh)
8) Ex. 9:23 – Thunder and then hail mingled with fire (This is the first time Moses uses the rod during the 10 Plagues of Egypt)
9) Ex. 10:13 – Locusts destroys the corps of Egypt (Moses and the Rod)
10) Ex. 11:5 & 29 – The Death of all Firstborn Egyptians (Directly done by God)
When we consider the debate as to if Moses will be one of the Two Witnesses because they (the Two Witnesses) can “turn water into blood” and “cause plagues”, Moses simply doesn’t add up. It was “Aaron (through the rod) that turned water into blood” and not Moses. Plus, anything resembling a “plague” was done by Aaron (through the Rod) when he called for the lice, and “the flies that covered Egypt was done directly by God”.
During the 10 Plagues of Egypt, Moses & Aaron did produce boils, and Moses did call for the “hail mingled with fire” and the “locusts” but he did not produce any plagues as Aaron had done, and then God. So, the debate that Moses will be one of the Two Witnesses because they (the Two Witnesses) will turn water into blood and cause plagues to occur does not add up. It was Aaron who turned the water into blood and caused plagues, not Moses.
Another important point to make is Moses had died a physical death. We find in Jude 23 that the archangel Michael was contending with Satan over the body of Moses. This is verified in Deut. 34:5 – 7 where Moses, at 120 years old, died in the land of Moab. Since everyone (including Moses) “has to die once” (Heb. 9:27) I personally believe this also excludes Moses from being one of the Two Witnesses. Why?
1) Enoch and Elijah never died.
2) Moses did die!
3) The Bible tells us in Heb. 9:27 that everyone “has to die once”
4) The Two Witnesses will die during the Tribulation Period and, like us, will be Raptured into Heaven after 3 ½ days.
So, you can understand why I don’t believe Moses will be one of the Two Witnesses because he just doesn’t fit the description. And I would end this little section by saying: I respectfully, and I do mean “quite respectfully” chose to disagree with those who believe Moses will be one of the Two Witnesses based on what I had just presented. Whether it’s going to be Elijah and Enoch, Moses and Elijah, or perhaps two unknown individuals, no can say for certain. All we can really do at this point is to wait and see.
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
In Acts 8:26 – 40 we find an Ethiopian eunuch was in his chariot reading a passage from the Book of Isaiah (Is. 53:6 to be precise). The Holy Spirit instructs Philip to go speak with this Ethiopian and, in the end, he becomes saved. After Philip baptizes this man he is “caught away (harpazo)” and can later be found preaching in Azotus and throughout all the cities along the way unto Caesarea. Philip was “physically remove”, because he was “righteous (he was saved)” but, as was also the case with Enoch and Elijah, there was no “impending judgment” of God’s about to hit.
It appears that when an individual (only 1 person) is “raptured” only 2 of the 3 elements are necessary: “physical removal” and “righteousness”. However, whenever there is more than “1 person being raptured, all 3 elements must be met”: 1) “physical removal”, 2) the persons involved must be “righteous” and 3) “God’s impending judgment” is about to hit. And in the 20 years that I’ve been teaching this, I haven’t found any exceptions.
The Last Trumpet
In I Cor. 15:52 a trumpet is going to be blown that heralds in the last Rapture. In I Thess. 4:16 again, the same Rapture event is spoken of but, the trumpet (which is also present) isn’t being sounded. But this is simply because of literary license. When Paul wrote this verse (under the Divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit) he didn’t mention it being blown again because he had already written about it back in I Cor. 15:52. He simply didn’t feel it was necessary to repeat himself.
When will this Seventh Trumpet be blown? Some believe it is being sounded in Rev. 11:15 which comes from the Mid-Tribulation perspective. But, there’s a problem with that line of thought.
Let me ask a very simple question? What is the purpose being a trumpet being blown? Unless you’re musically inclined, there has to be a reason for a trumpet being blown. And, again, it’s a very simple answer. A trumpet is blown to announce “the beginning” or “the end” of something; usually an event. This practice goes on to this very day in nations throughout the world. Just think of England for a minute. Whenever the Queen opens up Parliament, trumpets are being blown. When’s she’s finished, trumpets will once again be blown. During the crowning of a new British monarch, trumpets will be blown to begin the ceremony and, also, to end the ceremony, etc. And let’s not forget how the Shofar had been blown in order to signal the beginning or the ending of some event.
You cannot say that the last trumpet will be blown during the Middle of the Tribulation because the Tribulation Period isn’t over yet. That kind of reasoning doesn’t fit in with “why a trumpet is blown”. And, it doesn’t fit in with the fact that God has never once punished the righteous with the unrighteous. So, what’s the answer then? The answer is found at Rev. 3:20.
In Rev. 3:20 the End of the Christian Church Era is coming to a conclusion. Christ is announcing His arrival as the Bridegroom meeting His Bride (you and I). And, this ending, is met with the “Last Trumpet” found in I Thess. 4:16 and I Cor. 15:52. That “Last Trumpet” which Paul wrote about is the trumpet that is marking “the end” of the Christian Church Era. It’s that plain, that straightforward Ladies and Gentlemen. When you understand the purpose behind a trumpet, it’s easy to understand why the “Last Trumpet” is being sounded during the next Rapture, because it will mark the end of an age; the Christian Church Age. And, when you add in the fact that God has never punished the righteous with the unrighteous, it all becomes very clear.
Those of the Mid-Tribulation perspective will use Dan. 7:25 that God won’t rescue His saints until the Middle of the 70th Week of Daniel. Again, two problems with that line of thought: 1) God has never allow the righteous to be punished with the unrighteous and, 2) people will get saved throughout the Tribulation Period and later on martyred (beheaded) because they refused to worship the antichrist or take his mark (Rev. 20:4). The antichrist takes on his full power at the start of the second half of the Tribulation Period or, what is also referred to as “The Great Tribulation Period” and martyr (murder) all those who refuse to worship him. The martyrdom begins during the “second half of the Tribulation Period” and not before. So, there is no Mid-Tribulation Rapture because the Christians are being martyred then.
In conclusion, a definitive pattern has been proven to exist in the Scriptures pertaining to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture perspective:
1) Multiple examples have been given which also satisfies the “scientific method” of demonstrating that a fact is only proven through repetition.
2) With the cases of “more than 1 person being involved”, “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” was the only method that had ever been used.
3) The 3 elements which constitute a rapture was met in every case where more than 1 person was being involved in a rapture.
4) Never once, in any of those raptures, had God allowed the righteous to be punished with the unrighteous (or wicked).
5) Scriptures declare no one who has been declared to be righteous has an appointment to face the wrath of God and, has never been punished with the unrighteous.
Those who hold to the Mid-Tribulation or Post-Tribulation perspectives cannot show a definitive, scriptural pattern as you were just shown with the Pre-Tribulation Rapture perspective. The Mid-Tribulation and Post-Tribulation folks will throw a bunch of scriptures at you and, so many at times, that you can no longer tell heads from tails and, by doing so they easily confuse the issue. Anyone can do that! But, they cannot show you multiple events that form a pattern that is based on their perspectives. The only pattern, based on multiple, scriptural examples, based on multiple events, using a definitive pattern is the Pre-Tribulation Rapture perspective.
There you have it folks! The Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church is the only perspective that lines up with the scriptures and makes perfect, scriptural sense.
As always, take care everyone and God keep each and every single one of you…Doc!
The Rapture of the Church