02-Pre or Post Rapture
There are those who doubt a pre-week deliverance or rapture, who say God will deliver and secure the saints through the 7 years of judgment. This is true, for God will deliver many through the 70th Week, to enter the Millennium and replenish the earth with people. Among those will be a remnant of Israel, who will flee to Petra in Jordan, when the antichrist demands the Jews to worship him. It is these that God will nourish and protect for 3 1/2 years. It´s probable that Gentiles who become followers during the 70th Week, who are aware of this truth, will also go there and be nourished. But this should, by no means, cause anyone to doubt the rapture. It must be remembered that all those who survive the 70th Week as believers, entered the Week as unsaved people.
Just as God delivered Noah before judgment fell on the earth, so will the Lord remove his faithful ones from the earth. It is this day and hour that no man or angel knows. If the rapture were to take place at the end of the 70th Week, as many teach, then everyone could know the day our Lord is returning. For 2,520 days from the signing of the Middle East peace covenant, Jesus will step foot on the earth.
The Lord´s return is referred to as a “thief in the night” in Matthew 24:43 and I Thessalonians 5:2. A thief comes when no one is expecting or looking, when it is dark and quiet. At the end of the 70th Week, even the antichrist will know and be waiting for Jesus to appear, not to worship Him, but to make war with Him. Obviously he will not believe that it is really Jesus who is coming, but UFO´s and aliens (Revelation 17:14, 19:19). If the antichrist is even waiting and preparing, and the rapture was to take place at the end, that surely removes the “thief” element from His coming, doesn´t it?
Furthermore, if the post-week rapture teachers are correct, they have another serious question to answer. If Jesus raptured and resurrects all believers at the end, who will be left to enter into the 1,000-year kingdom to repopulate and replenish the earth? For the prophets clearly proclaim this Millennial kingdom as one where mortal people, in mortal bodies, would live and reproduce, (Isaiah 11:4-10, 65:18-25). When Jesus returns in power and glory at the end of the 70th Week, not as a thief, there will be two kinds of mortal people on the earth – believers and unbelievers. If Jesus then raptured and resurrected all believers, the only mortal people left alive to enter the Millennium are those who have rejected Him. Matthew 25:41-46 and Revelation 14:9-11 make it clear those unbelievers will be executed and sent to Hell. So who is going to repopulate and replenish the earth? Will it be resurrected, eternally glorified saints? That´s impossible, for we shall be like the angels, who don´t reproduce children.
For these reasons, we must conclude that there are two phases to our Lord´s coming: First, as a thief to remove His desired jewels, His vessels of gold, silver and precious stones. The second phase occurs 7 years later as He returns a glorious, conquering King.
The catching away or rapture is designed to demonstrate the love and faithfulness of God to a doubting, deceived world. Most of those in the church, who doubt the pre-week rapture, are not really looking daily for the Lord. They have delayed the Lord´s coming by at least 7 years. They are in danger of becoming evil servants, who are looking for signs more than the Son! (Matthew 24:48)
Those who repent and become lookers during the 70th Week will experience the wrath of God, only because they will be saved right in the midst of the out-pouring of it. It is then that God will protect and nourish those who will enter the Millennium to repopulate the earth. But there will be others who are saved in the midst of God´s wrath who will suffer martyrdom. Study carefully Revelation 7:16, for it reveals that many who are in Heaven, have experienced hunger, heat and burning, which is descriptive of God´s wrath, (Revelation 16:8-9). Many will die by the hands of the antichrist or as a result of being saved in the midst of God´s wrath. Those who die will escape the Lord´s ultimate wrath which is the Lake of Fire because they became believers. No person who is truly born again and walking in the Spirit will be rejected or spit up by our Lord at the rapture. All people who are left behind will enter the 70th Week with darkened hearts.
Please don´t mistake the pre-week rapture teaching as an escapist motivation. I firmly hold that we must daily be prepared to die for our testimony of Jesus. Granted, there are some who use the rapture as a selfish escape from trouble, who come across with a proud and arrogant attitude. Be assured, they will not be lifted up from the earth either. Their hearts are still in darkness. For that elitist attitude is the fruit of a proud heart. Many of the prosperity prophets look at the rapture in just such a way. For your sake, don´t let them divert you from the truth.
Now, where are the scriptures that promise deliverance for the saints?
I Thessalonians 4:13-18,
13)”But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. 14)For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15)For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them who 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 who 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.”
I Thessalonians 5:1-9,
1)”But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2)For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3)For when they shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. 4)But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5)Ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6)Therefore, let us not sleep, as other do, but let us watch and be soberminded. 7)For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that are drunk are drunk in the night. 8)But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and, for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9)For God hath not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
These verses describe the rapture and resurrection of the Christians and when it will happen. All those who believe in their hearts that Jesus died and rose again, whether they be dead or alive, will be with the Lord. Again, true believing means that they have identified themselves with the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When He died, they died to sinfulness; when He rose, they rose to newness of life in the Spirit. True faith is not lip-service, but a confession of the heart.
The souls and spirits of those members of the Lord´s church, whose bodies have died or are asleep, will return with Jesus at His return, “…them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Some false teachers have deceived millions of people into thinking that when you die your soul sleeps in the grave until the resurrection or rapture. They are only exposing their ignorance by teaching such poison. When Jesus returns from Heaven, He will bring the souls and spirits of the physically dead believers to reunite them with their newly resurrected bodies, “…and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” The bodies will be made new and immortal as the body of the risen Lord. Read the glorious words penned by Paul as the Spirit of God moved within him.
20)”For our conversation is in heaven, from which also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21)Who shall change our lowly body, that it may be fashioned like his glorious body, according to the working by which he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Immediately after the resurrection of the dead bodies of the saints, those of us who are still alive will be instantly transformed and caught up with them to remain in Heaven until the end of the 70th Week. This pre-week resurrection of the dead bodies of Christians is only the first part of the first resurrection, (Revelation 20:4-6). At the end of the 70th Week the Lord will again raise the bodies of those who died during the Week, who became lookers and then died, to life and resurrection, to rule with Him on the earth. Those believers who survived the 70th Week will enter into the Millennial Kingdom as mortals to replenish the earth.
Paul says that we are to comfort one another with these words. Spirit-led Christians understand what this means, because the Spirit of Truth has shown them the coming glory and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. They live now for then. The natural man rejects and scoffs at the mere mention of such truth. Even Christians who are following their fleshly carnal minds avoid discussion of the rapture and resurrection. As Paul warned the Christians of his day against allowing darkness and doubt to slip into one´s heart again, so do God´s teachers today. If they do not take heed, that darkness of heart will produce danger and destruction.
Paul said the Lord would return in the air at a time then “they” were saying “peace and safety.” Jesus will come when the world is not looking for Him, but looking for the antichrist to bring peace and plenty to them. Who are the “they” Paul refers to? Besides the ungodly, he is directly pointing to the religious Christians who are more caught up with worldly peacemaking, than looking and longing for the Lord to return to bring that peace. As I have stated before, the familiar spirit who calls himself “Mary” will explain the rapture as Jesus indeed coming and removing those troublemakers who misunderstood God´s plan to bring peace and safety to the world. This supernatural appearance will propel the Pope and President into achieving this peace and safety. I know this is speculation, but it sure makes a lot of sense, doesn´t it?
Some day real soon those lukewarm Christians will see the need to comfort one another with the words of His coming. The preaching of His cross and coming to impeach the rulers of the nations, produces persecution from these political and religious rulers. God promises to protect us from His wrath, but not the devil´s. We will be strengthened by it, not weakened. If we´re not being persecuted and rejected we are not living Godly in Christ Jesus. The devil knows he has but a short time, so he´s trying to stop the true Christian, because they are warning people to flee from sin, shame and separation from God.