PART 6: The Problem with the Pretribulation Rapture

Christ
Christ Painting by Leonardo Davinci

If you have read the first 5 parts of this series, hopefully you are beginning to see how difficult it is to try and create a scriptural basis for the pretribulation rapture theory. Simply stated, the Bible over and over gives specific timing on the return of Christ and His gathering together of the saints. Every time, the Bible is clear that it is AFTER the tribulation.

We can gain even more confirmation on the timing of the “rapture” by study of 2 Thes 1:3-10.

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

To understand this verse we need to consider some important Biblical context. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth in six days, and rested on the seventh. Then when Moses was given the law, the faithful were to work for six days, and then rest on the seventh. This seventh day of rest was a picture of the thousand year millennial kingdom on earth, when Christ visibly reigns as KING of kings and LORD of lords, and the earth is restored to the state God had originally intended. As believers, our blessed hope is to one day enter that rest, that thousand year millennial kingdom.

So, with that context, notice the timing of events in 2 Thes 1:3-10. Notice in the bolded text . . . When do believers escape their troubles and enter the rest of the Lord? Clearly they enter the rest when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His Mighty Angels to bring vengeance on the wicked.  Clearly, it is Christ’s second coming when He reveals himself and takes vengeance on the wicked.  We see that it is at this point that believers enter His rest. If this is the case, how could they have been raptured seven years earlier. If they had been raptured seven years earlier, would they have not entered his rest and escaped trouble then? The verse is crystal clear, we are delivered from our troubles and enter His rest at the end of the tribulation when Christ returns to bring vengeance on the world.

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