In Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this commentary we have shown that the foundational “rapture” verses, 1 Cor 15:51-57 provide three independent witnesses that place the rapture at the end of the tribulation at Christ’s second coming. We then showed that when Christ was asked about the timing of His coming and our gathering up to be with Him, He plainly and clearly placed it “immediately after the tribulation of those days”, and we saw that 2 Thes. 2 teaches Christ’s second coming and our gathering up to be with Him can not happen until AFTER the antichrist is revealed. So, this creates 5 very strong witnesses that the so called “rapture” is simply the Second Coming of Christ, at which time the dead will be resurrected, and those of us who are alive and remain will be changed into our glorified bodies to rule and reign with Christ for 1000 years in His Millennial Kingdom.
Today, we will look at another problem dealing with the resurrection from the dead. 1 Cor 15:51 and 1 Thes 4:13-17 indicate that at the time of Christ’s return, those who have died having faith in Him will be resurrected, and those who are alive and remain will be “changed” and will receive their glorified immortal bodies.
Lets now look at Revelation 20:4-6
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.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Folks, this one is really pretty clear:
- John sees the souls of all those who were beheaded because they did not worship the beast and did not take his mark.
- Then the souls “lived” i.e. they were resurrected.
- This resurrection is called “The First Resurrection”.
This is crystal clear. The souls John sees died during the tribulation, because they are killed by the antichrist system because they do not take the mark. There are no other alternatives. These people had died DURING the tribulation. Then they “live”, that is, they are resurrected. Hence this resurrection MUST occur AFTER the tribulation. Then John tells us that this is “The First Resurrection”. If this is the first resurrection, then how could billions of Christians have been resurrected at a “rapture” before the tribulation. If there had been a mass resurrection prior to the tribulation, then the resurrection above would have been the “second” resurrection, not the first.
Reviewing this analysis, and those in the earlier three parts of this series, in order to believe in a pre tribulation rapture one must believe:
- Billions of Christians are resurrected prior to the “First Resurrection”.
- Billions of Christians die AFTER Christ wins final victory over death and the grave.
- Christ misled his disciples in Matthew 24 indicating that Christians will be persecuted during the Tribulation when in fact he plans to secretly remove them from the earth.
- There are at least 7 trumpets after the “Last Trumpet”
- Paul was having a bad day during his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians when he indicated that the gathering together of the saints could not happen till after the antichrist is revealed during the tribulation.
- Christ comes one time between his First and Second coming. Would that not make three comings of Christ? No, Christ comes twice, not three times.
Guys, it simply does not work. To believe in a pre tribulation rapture is to mangle scripture. Hey, I want to believe it as much as the next guy. I believed it for most of my life. Then a few years ago I set out to prove it scripturally. After about six months of study I concluded that the Bible does not clearly promise a pretribulation rapture. Then after several more years of study I concluded that the Bible clearly teaches that the gathering together of the saints happens at Christ’s second coming. I do not desire persecution or martyrdom, but to believe something that is not true is to not be ready when that day comes.