EVIDENCE FOR A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE
Darrell G. Young
Proof #1: Revelation 19:11-21 doesn't
mention a resurrection.
The rapture is a resurrection of those "in
Christ" (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Isn't it a little bit odd that in Rev.
19:11-21, which is the clearest picture of the second coming of Christ, there
is no mention of a resurrection? The rapture will be the biggest event since
the resurrection of Jesus where hundreds of millions of Christians will be
resurrected and translated, yet there isn't any mention here. Wouldn't you
think it deserves at least one verse? The rapture isn't mentioned because it
doesn't happen at the second coming.
Proof #2: Zechariah
14:1-15 doesn't mention a resurrection.
This is an Old Testament picture of Jesus returning to
earth at the second coming. Again, no mention of a resurrection.
Proof #3: Two
different pictures are painted.
In the Old
Testament, there were two different pictures painted of the Messiah—one
suffering (Isaiah 53:2-10, Ps. 22:6-8, 11-18) and one reigning as King
(Psalms 2:6-12, Zechariah 14:9,16). As we look back on these scriptures, we
see they predicted two separate comings of the Messiah—the 1st coming as a
suffering Messiah and the 2nd coming (still future) as a reigning King.
In the New Testament,
we have another picture added. Again, we have two pictures painted which
don’t look the same. These two different descriptions of Jesus’ coming point
to two separate events we call "the rapture" and "the second
Proof #4: A Known
Day and the Unknown Day
Concerning the return of Jesus, the Bible presents a day
we can't know and a day we can know. Matthew 25:13 says Jesus will return at
an unknown time, while Revelation 12:6 says the Jews will have to wait 1,260
days for the Lord to return. The 1,260 days begins when the Antichrist stands
in the Temple and declares himself to be God (Matt. 24:15-21, 2 Thess. 2:4)
This event will take place at the mid-point of the seven year Tribulation
(Dan 9:27). The Antichrist has authority to rule for 42 months, which is
1,260 days (Rev. 13:4) and will be destroyed by Jesus at His second coming
(Rev. 19:20, 2 Thess. 2:8). The known and unknown days must happen at
different times, meaning they are two separate events.
Proof #5: The door
open in heaven ( Revelation 4:1 )
The door in heaven is opened to let John into heaven. We
believe John's call into heaven is prophetic of the church being caught up at
the rapture (see proof #6). In Revelation 19:11, heaven is opened again, this
time to let the armies which are already in heaven out. This is the Church,
which has been raptured at a previous time, following Jesus out of heaven at
the second coming.
"Come up hither" ( Revelation 4:1 )
A voice called for the apostle John to "Come up
here," and immediately he was in heaven. This could be a prophetic
reference to the rapture of the Church. The words "Come up here"
are spoken to the two witnesses who are killed in the middle of the
Tribulation, who are resurrected and ascend into heaven (Rev. 11:12). Therefore,
the phrase "Come up here" could mean the church is raptured in Rev.
4:1. The word "church" is mentioned 22 times in Rev. 1-3, but is
not mentioned again until Rev. 22:17.
Proof #7: The 24
elders have their crowns.
After John is called up into heaven, he sees the 24 elders
with their crowns (Rev. 4:4-10). We know that Christians will receive their
rewards (crowns) at the rapture (2 Tim. 4:8, 1 Pet. 5:4). We will be repaid
at the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:14). The elders couldn't receive
their crowns unless the resurrection (rapture) has taken place.
Proof #8 Holy ones
are already with Jesus in heaven (Zechariah 14:5, Rev. 19:14)
The armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, follow Jesus
out of heaven at His second coming (Rev. 19:14, Zech. 14:5, Col. 3:4). These
are not angels because Rev. 19:8 tells us the fine linen is the righteousness
of the saints. In order to come out of heaven we first have to go in,
indicating a previous rapture.
Proof #9: Kept from
the hour of temptation ( Rev. 3:10 )
Revelation 3:10 says we will be kept out of the hour of
testing which will come upon the whole earth (the Tribulation). Some have
wrongly believed "keep" means to keep through, or protect through
the Tribulation. Suppose you approach a high voltage area with a sign that
says, "Keep Out." Does that mean you can enter and be protected?
No, it means you are forbidden from entering the area. But this verse also
says He will keep us from the hour of testing. It is not just the testing,
but the time period. If a student is excused from a test, he still may have
to sit in the class while others take the test. But if he is excused from the
hour of testing, he can go home. The Church will be called home before the
hour of testing.
Proof #10: Angels
don't resurrect people when they gather them for judgment.
When the angels are sent forth to gather the elect at the
second coming (Matt. 24:29-31), some have wrongly interpreted this as the
rapture. There is one huge problem with this interpretation. If we are resurrected
at this time, why would we need angels to gather us? In the resurrection, we
will be like the angels (Matt. 22:30), able to travel in the air at will.
Obviously, these people who are gathered are not resurrected, therefore it
can't be the rapture. No one would claim the wicked are raptured at this
time, yet Matthew 13:39-41, 49 says the angels will not only gather the
elect, but also the wicked. This gathering is not a resurrection.
Proof #11: Both
wicked and righteous both can't be taken first.
First Thessalonians 4:13-17 says the righteous are taken
and the wicked are left behind. Matthew 13:30, 49 says the wicked are taken
first and righteous are left behind. This points to two separate events, the
rapture and the second coming.
Proof #12: Jesus
returns from the wedding.
When Jesus returns to earth at the second coming, He will
return from a wedding (Luke 12:36). At the rapture, Jesus is married to His
bride, the Church. After the wedding, He will return to earth.
Proof #13: Jesus
will receive us to Himself, not us to receive Him (John 14:2-3).
Jesus said He would prepare a place for the Church in
heaven, then He would come again to receive us to Himself. Why would Jesus
prepare a place for us in heaven and then not take us there? At the rapture,
He will come to receive us to Himself, "that where I am (heaven), there
you may be also." If the rapture occurred at the same time as the second
coming, we would go up to the clouds and then immediately come back to earth.
That would contradict John 14:2-3.
Proof #14: The
“great Restrainer” is taken out of the way.
In 2 Thess. 2:6-7, Paul says "the one who restrains
will be taken out of the way" before the Antichrist can be revealed. We
believe this refers to the rapture because the Church is clearly the biggest
obstacle to the Antichrist becoming a world ruler.
Proof #15: The
separation of the sheep and goats ( Matthew 25:31-46 )
If the rapture occurred at the second coming, why would
the sheep and the goats need to be separated immediately after the second
coming? A rapture at the second coming would have already separated the sheep
and the goats. With a Pre-Tribulation rapture, the people saved after the
rapture will need to be separated after the second coming.
Proof #16: Who will
populate the Millennium?
If the rapture occurs at the second coming and the wicked
are cast into hell at that time, who will be left to populate the millennium?
Only people in their natural (non-resurrected) bodies will be able to have
children (Matt. 22:30). With a Pre-Tribulation rapture, the people saved
after the rapture who are alive at the second coming will populate the earth
during the Millennium