Revelation for Israel, Rapture for the Church Body

Dr. Mike Johnston

 

Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.  (4)  He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the Earth, that he may judge his people.  (5)  Gather my saints together unto me [see Matt. 24:31 [1]] ; those that have made a covenant [Abrahamic] with me by sacrifice.

(6) And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah”

(Psalms 50:3-6).

A contrarian clique represented in the current rapture debate suffers from the same passing blindness Israel surrendered to 2000 years ago (Rom. 11:25). In that state, they refuse to accept right division between Israel and the church Body and the subsequent distinctions. For instance, why is it such an insurmountable task for our opponents to understand the Rapture as a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51-52) when in fact the entire church Body is a mystery (Rom. 16:25) having no connection to the Revelation outlined progressively by the prophets to Israel? Those who insist on placing the church Body in the middle of it sound eerily familiar to a group Paul addressed:

“But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile” (Romans 2:8-9).

Understanding right division God placed in Scripture is a prerequisite to arriving at right conclusions and clears up the Rapture confusion completely. Let’s be clear. We are not afraid of Biblical truth verified via Scripture; something every student has access to yet numbers are unwilling to avail themselves. I’ll explain the untoward upshot of this in the last chapter.

As we’ve seen, Israel’s Tribulation throughout the Bible is part of God’s prophecy program for Israel and Earth (Isa. 2; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zeph; Rev. 3:10; 6-19). It precedes the Messianic Kingdom prophesied throughout the OT. [2] This time of trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) is Israel’s Tribulation which originated in the prophecy program is Covenant related. It was initially revealed by Moses in a prophecy specifically for Israel in the latter days, (Deut. 4:30-31).

This is a simple three-point synopsis of Israel’s Tribulation:

  • It is punishment [3] of Israel’s enemies as well as Israel (Deut. 30:7; 32:43; Isa. 2:19-21; Isa. 13; 24; 34; 30-31; Dan. 7; 12:1; Joel 2; Zephaniah, see 1:15; Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19);
  • It is positioning Israel back under Abrahamic Covenant(Gen. 15-17; Deut. 4:30-31),
  • It is preparing Israel – and in a collateral sense, the Earth – (Jer. 30-31; Ezek. 20:37; 22:18-22; Zeph. 1:14-18) – for the Revelation of the Messiah and the Jewish (Millennial) Kingdom promised in perpetuity through the Davidic Covenant(2 Sam. 7:8-16).

Please take careful note. Every Bible reference to Israel’s Tribulation speaks of at least one of these three important things while NEVER mentioning the Body of Christ which was a mystery completely hidden from the prophets (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:2-9; Col. 1:26).

We can easily identify Israel’s Tribulation as a major change component prophesied to her for the latter days. In his monolithic treatise on Systematic Theology, Dr. Lewis Chafer described Israel’s Tribulation as “one of the major highways of prophecy, which may be traced through Scripture as follows: Deu_4:29-30; Jer_30:4-7; Dan_12:1; Mat_24:9-26; 2Th_2:1-12; Rev_3:10; 6:1-19:6. See also Psa_2:5; Isa_2:10-22; Isa_13:9-16; Isa_24:21-23; Isa_26:20-21; Isa_34:1-17; Isa_43:1-6; Isa_49:15-24; Jer_25:29-38; Eze_30:3; Amo_5:18-20; Oba_1:15-21; Zep_1:7-18; Zec_12:1-14; Zec_14:1-4; Mal_4:1-4.

(The Tribulation) is the period known as Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan_9:24-27), the order of events being the same in Daniel as in Matthew 24 and in 2 Thessalonians 2. The final week or heptad is seven years in duration, which is proved by the fact that it was exactly 69×7 years between the order to rebuild Jerusalem and the cutting off of Messiah. This remaining seventieth “week” of years belongs to Israel’s age and will be characterized by the same general conditions as obtained in the past Jewish age. The time is to be shortened a little (Mat_24:22). It is known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer_30:4-7) out of which Israel will be saved. The great tribulation is the time of God’s unavoidable judgments on a Christ-rejecting world (Psa_2:5). It is characterized by:

  1. The removal of the Holy Spirit together with the Church from the Earth (2Th_2:7).
  2. The casting of Satan into, thus restricting him to, the Earth (Rev_12:9-12).
  3. The development of sin which was hitherto restrained (2Th_2:11).
  4. The rule of the man of sin (Joh_5:43).
  5. Termination by the second coming of Christ, the battle of Armageddon, and the smiting stone of Daniel 2.”

Revelation and Rapture Distinctions

A wrong division of the Bible will not tolerate making a distinction between the Lord’s return to Israel with the church Body, or His return for us preceding Israel’s Tribulation – an event prophesied for Israel in the latter days (Deut. 4:30-31). From the beginning when Moses first announced it, there has never been any mention of or allusion to the Body of Christ because we didn’t exist except as a mystery in the complexities of God’s heavenly program. Bear in mind, the God who created us as a provisional mystery during this prophecy interim, had already planned our mystery escape before the prophecy clock would resume for Israel. It is known as the Rapture and as we’ll see, it is as distinct from the Revelation as the Body of Christ is from the nation Israel.

Study Scripture. The Revelation was a well-attested future hope of Israel with a progressive prophetic basis for understanding. The Rapture, however, is a mystery [4] NOT known by the prophets and only revealed to the Body of Christ by Paul.

The Revelation of Christ involves His return to Israel and Earth. The Rapture by Christ involves Jesus taking the Body of Christ to heaven. Currently Israel awaits the final seven years of Daniel’s prophecy followed by the Kingdom (Dan. 7), the Body of Christ looks for Christ our Deliverer who promised to take us to Heaven (John 14:2-3; see 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10;). The removal of the church Body via the Rapture will occur once “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25), allowing the prophecy clock to resume at Daniel’s 70th week where Israel’s Tribulation and the final preparations for the Kingdom can once again get underway following the Revelation of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. “But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel” (2 Chronicles 6:6).

Now let’s ask ourselves a question: Why is this even disputed?

In a sentence, conflation lends confusion, which leads to contention. Paul’s warning is direct, “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile” (Romans 2:8-9).

The Revelation is Prophecy for Israel

What we are witnessing today is a mixing together of the prophecy program for Israel with the mystery program for the church Body and posturing against the differences. I’m reluctant to admit (from sheer embarrassment) the vast numbers of Bible teachers who are not only acrimonious adversaries of the mystery (study carefully the destructive outcome of this- 2 Pet. 3:15-17) [5], they are stubbornly combative in their opposition to it, even though Scripture is very clear about the two distinct program outcomes of prophecy and mystery. Prophecy is for Israel progressively revealed by the mouth of God’s holy prophets since the world began (Acts. 3:21). The Revelation – known by Christians as the Second Coming – is part of Israel’s established prophecy program. Dr. Rice writes: “There is more said in the Bible about the second coming than there is about the first coming. The restoration of Israel, the putting down of evil, the establishment of a reign of righteousness, the end of war, the end of disease-all these wait on the return of Christ. The events of prophecy cluster around, precede, or follow the return of the Saviour.” (The Second Coming of Christ in Daniel, 1935). It concerns Israel’s future Kingdom in the “ages to come” and her King, the Messiah (Psa. 102:16; Isa. 66:15-18; Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 14:3-4; etc).

Messiah’s coming to Earth of course originated with God’s servants the prophets and centers around the establishment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom in Jerusalem. Progressive revelation teaches us it will occur at the completion of Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:29) also known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), Daniel’s seventieth week (Daniel 9:24-27, “the day of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; 34:8; Jeremiah 46:10, etc), a “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), and “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10). This Revelation of the Messiah to Israel was well known; the Rapture of the Body of Christ – a mystery hidden from the prophets – was NOT.

The Distinction and Description of Messiah’s Revelation to Israel:

The Revelation of the Messiah is a monumental event witnessed and experienced by the world (Rev. 1:7). Study carefully the Revelation verses below in their relation to Rapture verses because the prophets NEVER described the Revelation in the fashion Paul described the Rapture. In an article entitled The Glorious Appearing of Christ, Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost wrote: “When the Son returns in glory (Rev. 1:13-16 He is fulfilling His God given role as Judge (John 5:27). He is portrayed in that role throughout the book of Revelation. Christ is the one (Rev. 5:5) who looses the series of judgments described in the breaking of the seals (Rev. 6:1-17) and the blowing of the trumpets (Rev. 8:2-9:21) . . .  Upon the Second Coming, He will assemble living Israel for judgment (Matt. 24:31; 25:1-30) and will judge living Gentiles to determine who will enter the covenanted kingdom.”

Here are some of the prophetic Revelation verses describing this event

1 Chronicles 16:33 “Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the Earth.”

Job 19:25-26 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the Earth:  (26)  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:”

Psalms 50:3-6 “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.  (4)  He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the Earth, that he may judge his people.  (5)  Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.  (6)  And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.”

Psalms 96:13 “Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the Earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”

Psalms 102:16 “When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.”

Isaiah 26:21 “For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the Earth for their iniquity: the Earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

Isaiah 66:15-18 “For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.  (16)  For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.  (17)  They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.  (18)  For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.”

Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  (14)  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

Zechariah 14:4-5, 9 “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.  (5)  And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the Earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.  (9)  And the LORD shall be king over all the Earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

Matthew 24:29-31 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  (30)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  (31)  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

1 Thessalonians 2:19 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”

Jude 1:14-15 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,  (15)  To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Revelation 1:7  “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

Revelation 19:11-15 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  (12)  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  (13)  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  (14)  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  (15)  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

The Rapture is a Mystery for the Body of Christ

The church Body is a mystery that was unknown to the prophets (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9). Since they didn’t know about us, never mentioned us, and there isn’t a verse anywhere in Scripture indisputably identifying us here, how could we possibly be included in Israel’s Tribulation with God’s elect Israel (Isa. 45:4) and the unsaved nations of the world?

Answer: We aren’t! God shrouded the Body of Christ in mystery (Rom. 16:25). The Rapture is a mystery event experienced by the mystery church Body alone.

The distinct Rapture description – including its imminency – from Paul

I had to laugh some time ago when I was involved in a very heated “discussion” with a delusional anti-PreTrib man who charged me with being a “stinking liberal” for believing in the PreTrib rapture. Excuse me, while believing in the imminent rapture doesn’t itself make a person conservative, I’ve never found in 40 years one liberal that is PreTrib.

Let’s look at some verses discussing the Rapture of the church Body of Christ

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  (52)  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.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “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.”

Galatians 1:4 “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver (pluck out, rescue- Strongs) us from (ek) [6] this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”

Philippians 3:20-21 “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  (21)  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Philippians 4:5 “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”

1 Thessalonians 1:10 “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  (13) “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  (14)  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  (15)  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  (16)  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:  (17)  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.  (18)  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”

1 Thessalonians 5:23 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,  (2)  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5 “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”

1 Timothy 6:14  That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Timothy 2:18 “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

2 Timothy 4:1 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing (Rapture) and his kingdom (Revelation)”

2 Timothy 4:8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”.

QUICK COMMENT: Second Timothy 4:8 is a very compelling proof that the church Body will be removed BEFORE Israel’s Tribulation because it promises a “crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:8) for all who “love His appearing”. Now think about this! Who in their right mind wouldn’t love and long for His appearing if they had to endure the persecution, plundering, pillaging and possible torture and martyrdom facing Earth dwellers during Israel’s Tribulation bloodbath? This fact alone would render this crown worthless! Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, [7] and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” 

Chart: Rapture and the Revelation

RAPTURE

Unrevealed and not predicted in O.T. Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:51 – “mystery” compare Eph. 3:9 – “which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God”)
Christ comes in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-17)
Christ comes for His saints (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-56) and returns to Heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:14).
Christ claims His bride (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-27)

Only His own people see Him (1 Thess. 4:17-18; Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13)

 

A wedding ceremony will occur following this coming (Rev. 19:7; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-27)

 

Christ coming as the bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16)
Translation of living believers to Heaven (1 Cor. 15:51-52; John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)

A time of blessing and comfort (1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11)
Earth not judged (John 14:3; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; 2 Thess. 2:1 – no mention of judgment)

 

Imminent (any moment), signless – (Phil. 3:20; 4:5; Titus 2:13; 1 Cor. 16:22; Rev. 3:11; 22:12. 20)

 

Believers only are involved with this coming (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor.15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Occurs before God’s wrath  (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:4, 9; Rev. 3:10 – “keep thee from the hour”)
Marks the commencement of God’s day of wrath on Earth (1 Thess. 5:1-9).
Tribulation begins following this coming (1 Thess. 1:10; 2 Thess. 2:1-3; Rev. 3:10; Rev. 6-19)

No mention of Satan (1 Thess. 4:13-18)

 REVELATION

Revealed and predicted often in O.T. Scriptures (Isa. 9:7; 11:4; 26:19-21; 63:1-4; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:9-12; Zech. 14:1-9; Ma. 4:2-3)

Christ comes back to Earth (Zech. 14:4)
Christ comes with His saints (Zech. 14:5; 1 Thess. 3:13; Jude 14) and returns to Earth (Rev. 19:11-14).
Christ comes with His bride (Rev. 19:7-9; 11-14)

Every eye shall see Him – visible to entire world (Matt. 24:27; Rev. 1:7)

 

A wedding feast will occur following this coming (Rev. 19:9; Matt. 22:1-14; Lk. 14:12-24; Isa 25:6)

 

 

Christ comes as the sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2)
Transfer of unbelievers to judgment (Matt. 24:37-41; 25:31-46; 13:41-42; 3:11-12)

A time of Earthly destruction and judgment (2 Thess. 2:8-12; Matt. 24:51; 25:46)
Earth judged (Rev. 16:14-20; 19:15; Isa. 11:4)

 

Follows definite predicted signs (signs occurring during Israel’s Tribulation Period – Matt. 24:29-34)
All humanity is affected by this coming (Matt. 24:1-25:46 – Israel and Gentile nations)

 

Occurs “after the Tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29-30) – 7 years later
Marks the culmination of God’s day of wrath on Earth (Joel 2:31; Rev. 19:15)

Millennium begins following this coming (Rev. 20:1-3; Matt. 13:41-43; Daniel 7:13-14; 12:2-3)

Satan is bound (Rev. 20:1-3)

 

Paul’s Mystery

When Paul introduced the mystery rapture, he did so as a well-educated duly connected ex-member of the powerful, prestigious Jewish Sanhedrin and graduate of the tutelage of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). This is where he received an extensive study of the prophets and OT Law including the hope of a future resurrection (Psalm 2:5-9; Isa. 2:1-4; 26:19-21; Dan. 12:2; see his commentary in 1 Cor. 15). This hope – aside from the liberal Sadducees (Matt. 22:23) and their followers – continued to dominate religious thinking on through the time of Christ (John 11:24).

With unassailable educational credentials, Paul unveiled the Rapture resurrection of the church as a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51-53; see 1 Thess. 4:13-18), to the mystery people (the Body of Christ)- (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12, 27; Eph. 3:3-9; 5:32). This he revealed as part of the dispensation of the mystery we are now in (Eph. 3:2-4; see also Romans 11:25; 16:25; First Corinthians 2:7; 15:51; Ephesians 1:9; 3:3,4,9; 5:32; 6:19; Colossians 1:26,27; 2:2; 4:3; 1 Timothy 3:9). All who know Christ when He returns will go with Him back to Heaven (John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). Question: Are you sure you know Christ as your Saviour and Lord? If not, ask Him into your life today.

The Galatian Judaizers

Paul made much of the distinction between his gospel (good news) message and that of his predecessors with claims he received it by special revelation (Gal. 1:11-12; see Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3). With that, he taught a distinct separation between the nation Israel and the Body of Christ and that our salvation in Christ excluded the pronouncements made in Israel’s Law and prophecy specifically to her, because our dispensation is distinctly[8] “not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). These prophecies include Israel’s Tribulation given her in time past to occur in the ages to come – aka the latter days (Deut. 4:30; see progressive revelation in Isaiah; Jeremiah; Dan. 9:24-27; Joel; Zeph 1; etc). The Body of Christ was NOT known to the prophets who never mentioned us. We have to be removed BEFORE this chaos begins.

A reference to this appears in Paul’s letter to the Galatian church – troubled by Judaizers trying to force God’s plan for Israel upon the Body of Christ just as many false teachers do today. He wrote, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver [Strong’s: Grk exaireō means to tear out; pluck out, rescue] us from [Strong’s: Grk this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4). Although this can be interpreted as an act of separation from the world, comparing Scripture with Scripture as a hermeneutic requisite provides some interesting PreTrib rapture consistency:

  • The Restrainer (Holy Spirit) will be taken out of (Grk: ek) the way (2 Thess. 2:7)[9]
  • Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from (Grk. ek) the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth” (Revelation 3:10).

Daniel, prophecy and the Revelation

Daniel’s book predicts events swirling around the end times leading to the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The Gentile nations as well as Israel are clearly identified then appear later in Revelation, the fulfillment. Currently the prophecy clock awaits resumption at the 70th week. This cannot happen with the church body on earth because Scripture reveals God never operates simultaneously in His programs. Israel’s Tribulation is part of the prophecy program predicted to her as a prerequisite to the Kingdom, therefore the clock can’t resume while the mystery Body of Christ is here.

To further confirm our absence, God’s word proves the church Body of Christ is NEVER MENTIONED anywhere on earth during this time. While this alone should convince our opponents, it hasn’t. They continue pumping out propaganda in books quoting one another while ignoring this truth. Verify this for yourself. There are admittedly “words” that could be interpreted to be the Body of Christ, contextual use disqualifies it as inconclusive. Therefore, the only deduction making sense is that the church Body which appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) after Daniel’s prophecy clock stopped after the 69th week must be removed in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51; see 2 Thess. 2:7) in order to restart that prophecy clock at the 70th week.

That event is imminent; it’s the Rapture of the church in the heavenlies by Christ and it removes us before Antichrist [10] is revealed and the time of Jacob’s trouble begins with the signing of a seven year covenant of peace (2 Thess 2:6-8; see Dan. 9:27).

Chart: distinctions between Israel and the Church

 

Israel, a Nation Church, a Body
Prophecy – Earth Mystery – Heaven
Gospel of the Kingdom Gospel of Grace
Prophets of Israel Apostle to the Gentiles (Paul)
Focus on Israel Focus on the Church
Revelation with the Church

(to deliver Israel from Antichrist enemies and establish the Millennial kingdom)

Rapture for the Church

(to deliver us from Israel’s  Tribulation and bring us to Christ in Heaven- John 14:1-3)

Trumpet of angels (Mt 24:31) Trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16; Rev 4:1)
Gathering together on Earth

(Mt 24:31; 25:32-33; Mk 13:27)

Catching up into heaven
(1 Thess. 4:17)
He sends His angels to gather the elect

(Mt 24:31; Mt 25:31-32)

The Lord personally gathers His Church
(John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:15-17)
All who survive Israel’s Tribulation

(Mt 25:31-33)

Only the saved
(1 Thess. 4:14)
Trumpet without voice
(Mt 24:31)
Voice of the archangel
(1 Thess. 4:16)
To the Earth (Zech 14:4) In the air (1 Thess. 4:17)
Both sheep and goats are gathered

(Mt 25:31-33)

Only saints are gathered
(1 Thess. 4:14-17)
Signs abound

(Mt 24; Mk 13:24; Acts 2:17-21)

No signs

(Titus 2:13; 1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13-5:3)

A horrible time where all tribes mourn

(Joel 2; Rev 1:7)

A blessed hope and comfort

(John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:18; Titus 2:13

All who are alive at this time on Earth
(Mt 24:26; Rev 19:11-16)
Them which sleep, we which are alive
(1 Thess. 4:15-17; 1 Cor. 15:51)
No mention of resurrection of church saints, only Tribulation saints (Mt 24-25; Rev 20:4) Resurrection of dead church saints

(1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:16)

Comes on a horse (Rev 19:11-16) Comes on His own (1 Thess. 4:16)
The elect are on Earth

(Mt 24-25)

The Church is in Heaven

(Rev 1:12;20 cp. 4:1-5; 19:7-9)

Sheep and goat judgment

(Mt 25:31-33)

Judgment Seat of Christ

(Rom 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10)

Gathered from four winds (Mk 13:27) Gathered unto the Lord (1 Thess. 4:17)
Separation of mortal people for entrance into the Kingdom (Mt 25:31-36) Translation of saints into immortality

(1 Cor. 15:51-53)

Christ returns with His saints (Zech 12:5; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; Jude 14-15) Christ returns for His saints

(1 Thess. 4:16)

A well-known fact Called a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51)
Leaves them on the Earth

(Mt 25:31-34; Rev 20:6-7)

Takes us to Heavenly mansions

(John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)

Israel and Gentiles are judged according to works (Mt 25:31-46) Church judged for rewards

(1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10)

Not a friendly encounter

(2 Thess. 1:7-8; Jude 14-15; Rev 19:11-21)

Meet  the Lord on friendly terms

(1 Thess. 4:17)

 

[1] And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)

[2] Here is an expressive listing of OT and NT references to the Kingdom: 2 Sam. 7:16; Psalm 85; 86:9; 89; Isa 2:2-4; 11; 14; 35; 52; 60; 62; 65; Jer 33; Ezek 33:21-36:38; 34:11-31; 37:21-28; 40-48; Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14, 26-27; Hos 3; Amos 9; Micah 4-5; Zech 2:4-13; 8; 9:10; 14:9; Matt. 25:34; Rev 11:15; 20:1-7.

[3] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion (Isa. 34:8).  For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates (Jer. 46:10).

[4] The definition of the word mystery given by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of English Words is “a profound secret; something wholly unknown or something kept cautiously concealed, and therefore exciting curiosity or wonder . . . in religion, anything in the character or attributes of God, or in the economy of divine providence, which is not revealed to man.” Both the Body of Christ and the Rapture fit this description perfectly.

[5] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Peter 3:15-17)

[6] Ek is also used in Rev. 3:10 by the Lord in His promise to the Philadelphia church: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from (ek) the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth.”

[7] In a ten point PreTrib Rapture apologetic article, brother Geoffrey Grider, Editor of Now the End Begins, offers this: THE RAPTURE IS THE ‘BLESSED HOPE’ WHILE THE SECOND COMING IS A DAY TO BE GREATLY FEARED. We start with this one first because it is the one difference most overlooked in a study of the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming. In Titus 2:13, talking about the Rapture, Paul calls it “the Blessed Hope”, a day of great comfort and joy. But in Amos 5:18, talking about the Day of the Lord, which is in fact the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, God tells us that it is a day of “great woe”, and greatly to be feared! Now, how can the Rapture and the Second Coming possibly be the same? Read Joel 3 for more on the ferocity and woefulness of the Second Coming. Paul calls the Rapture of the Church the “day of Christ”. The Second Coming is called the “day of the Lord”. The day of Christ is to be looked forward to, the Day of the Lord to be feared. If you are someone who believes the Bible, then I could stop this article right here as I have established my case well beyond the shadow of any doubt, reasonable or otherwise. But for  you who are ” fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” then we have added another 9 rock-solid reasons why the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ cannot be the same event. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 (KJV) – The Rapture

“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” 2 Thessalonians 2:2 (KJV) – The Rapture

“Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.” Amos 5:18 (KJV) – The Second Coming (Revelation)

“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9 (KJV) – The Second Coming (revelation). Source: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/the-bible-believers-guide-to-understanding-the-differences-between-the-rapture-and-the-second-coming/

[8] A dispensation is simply a period of time whereby God deals with man differently than in other periods. Example, Adam was told NOT to eat from a particular tree; Noah was told to build an ark; Abraham was told to go to Canaan, and so forth.

[9] May I reiterate by comparing Scripture with Scripture. The Greek word for “out of” Paul used here is “ek” which is the same Greek word the Lord Jesus used in Rev. 3:10 when promising to keep the church “from the hour of temptation” we know to be the tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30-31; etc.

[10]Antichrist, aka the beast. This “Beast” is the “little horn” of (Dan_7:24-26), and “desolator” of (Dan_9:27), the “abomination of desolation” of (Mat_24:15), the “man of sin” of (2Th_2:4-8), Earth’s last and most awful tyrant, Satan’s fell instrument of wrath and hatred against God and the Jewish saints. He is, perhaps, identical with the rider on the white horse of (Rev_6:2), who begins by the peaceful conquest of three of the ten kingdoms into which the former Roman empire will then be divided, but who soon establishes the ecclesiastical and governmental tyranny described in Daniel 7, 9, 11; Revelation 13. To him, Satan gives the power which he offered to Christ. (Mat_4:8); (Mat_4:9); (Rev_13:4). (Old Scofield Study Bible)

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