On September 11th 2001 America Changed, the land of the free became the home of the enslaved. Since that day we have exchanged our liberties and freedoms for security, the question is, was it all by mans design or was it by Divine Will? I suppose the answer is both, regardless, it was a day of infamy. As we look back, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor lead us into the 2nd world war, a war which set us on the path to a One World Government. In the aftermath of world war II the United Nations was created and the pursuit for a One World Government accelerated. A police state is beginning to tighten its grip on the people of the United States and for those who understand Biblical Prophecy, what comes next won’t be a surprise. At some point in the future, according to the Scripture, everyone will be forced to take a mark in order to buy or sell or they will be killed.
The emergence of the Antichrist is becoming increasingly imminent, behind the scenes, Satan is working feverishly to bring about a One World Government and a One World Religion in preparation for the Antichrist. For decades now we have heard those who have and are subverting the Constitution of the United States, promoting a One Word Government. Satan has also deceived many modern Evangelicals into believing we will be removed from the earth before the Great Tribulation takes places, making the Pretribulation Rapture teaching the biggest lie of the modern age.
The Pretribulation Rapture
What many don’t know is that the pretribulation rapture is new, there is no evidence of anyone teaching it before 1830 with the exception of “Rabbi Ben Ezra” alias to Emmanuel Lacunza who theorized that the Church would be raptured before Jesus’ return to earth. Escapism is the central theme of Pretribulation Rapturism, teaching the rapture to be secret and imminent with no signs preceding the event. The birth and development of Pretribulation Rapturism has been kept hidden by many of its contemporaries, however truth be known, its conception came from a vision by a women named Margaret Macdonald. Dave MacPherson in his book “The Rapture Plot” stated that “It would be hard to prove, as some have charged, that a dark, unseen force had a direct hand in the bringing about the creation of this end-time system” called Pretribulation Rapturism. He continued by stating, “But not so hard to imagine that, after the emergence of this school of interpretation, the same opportunistic force could easily find reasons for nurturing and exploiting it while hiding its origin.1
There are four individuals who can be credited for the origin, publication, and popularity of the 19th Century Pretribulation Rapture view, Margaret Macdonald, Edward Irving, John Darby, and C.I. Scofield. All four of these individuals play an intricate role which has snowballed this school of interpretation into the greatest hoax and deception of the modern and post-modern age. It is these who are the foundation for every 20th and 21st Century supporter of the Pretrib Rapture View. Many popular Authors have since its conception proliferated this erroneous doctrine which has left the masses within Christendom lethargic to end-time prophecy, ignoring Jesus’ Command to watch and be ready.
Although Historicism was more prevalent in the early 1800’s the mainstream teaching of the rapture was primarily post-tribulational. Nevertheless, men such as John Tudor (Editor of ‘The Morning Watch’) and Edward Irving toyed with the idea of a partial rapture in the 1820’s. This idea was introduced via sermons, articles, etc by both men. They separated the “elect” in Matthew 24 by declaring the “first-fruits” were gathered before the harvest of Revelation 14 which immediately preceded the treading of the wine-press of wrath.2 They hinted of a pre-tribulational Rapture which was based on the priority of one Christian over the other, it was viewed as an entitlement rather than on the timing of the rapture. Just like today, many view themselves superior to others having a sense of privilege. Regardless, it’s no surprise Edward Irving latched on to Margaret Macdonald’s vision of a pre-trib rapture understanding he’s genre leaned to that thought already.
While dispensationalism was understood from the Historicism position of the early 1800’s, it was Edward Irving who under the name of “Fidus” in “The Morning Watch” article in September 1830 who presented the doctrine changing view of dispensationalism by interjecting Pretribulationism, blending the two thoughts together, thus, setting the stage for the later development of the doctrine. Irving believed it was the Philadelphian church who would come to meet the Lord in the air and that the Laodicean church would endure the period of great tribulation which would intervene between the coming of the Lord to the air and the establishment of his throne and rest in Zion.3 This of course was the first publication introducing this new doctrine and one can now see how the belief in a pretribulation rapture and “tribulation saints” exist today among Pretribers.
You’ve heard someone say; “They just can’t make this stuff up can they?” Well, yes they can and yes they do. The Bible warns five times in the New Testament concerning fables (1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16). A fable can mean a great deal of things but Biblically it is speaking of an untruth. It is something fabricated by the mind in contrast to reality. What it is not is a vehicle of some lofty truth but generally is for the purpose of deceiving others. One lie always leads into another, then another and another. Most often, for a lie to flourish, truth must be denied and discredited. Pretrib Rapturism is fiction at best! In fact the left behind series seen in book form and in the movies only paint an imaginary tale of the Rapture. But that is one lie, another would be the treatment of Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse.
The Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24)
To understand the Rapture we must look at the characteristics of the Rapture from a Biblical perspective. To do so we must first view the most classic rapture passage in Scripture, then compare it to other passages describing the same event.
Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave]. for since we believed that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him through Jesus those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For this we declare to you by the Lord’s word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall in no way precede [into His presence] or have any advantage at all over those who have previously fallen asleep [in Him in death]. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words. ~ 1 Thess. 4:13-18 AMP.
What do we see here, what are the characteristics of the Rapture in this passage?
1. The Lord Descends; He is seen in the clouds.
2. Angels are present and active.
3. Trumpet of God sounds.
4. Resurrection, Caught up in the Clouds, Rapture.
In Matthew 24:29-32 we see the same elements as our classic rapture passage. Jesus descends from heaven, He is seen on the clouds, Angels are present and active, there is the sound of the trumpet, and lastly, the gathering of God’s elect from one end of heaven to the other, that is to one focal point, where Jesus is.
Now here is where another Pretrib lie is found. Pretribbers, especially its Authors and theologians will tell you that Matthew 24 is strictly written to the Jews. It is here I will present evidence to the contrary. Mark chapter 13 is the parallel passage to Matthew 24. Basically, Mark is describing the same thing with some minor variations. However Mark makes a very clear distinction which I will put in bold print.
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light. The stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from, the four winds, from the furthest part of earth to the furthest part of heaven. ~ Mark 13:24-27 NKJV
Notice here that Mark makes a very clear distinction, the Angels will gather His elect from the earth to heaven (heaven meaning the sky, air, clouds, etc). Both passages line up perfectly with 1 Thessalonians 4. Now to expose the lie, if you reads on in Marks account, the very last verse of this chapter ends with; “And what I say to you, I say to all, Watch!” (Mark 13:37). What Jesus was teaching his disciples here in the Olivet Discourse, He says to ALL. Not just the Jews, but the Jews, the Gentiles, every Nation and people throughout the age. Jesus didn’t say, “what I say to you, I say only to the Jews,” He said I say this to all!
Now, it is important here to point out the most obvious lie of the Pretribulation Rapture. To do so we must compare both Matthew 24:29 and Mark 13:24 together.
Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days…” ~ Matthew 24:29a
But in those days, AFTER that tribulation…” ~ Mark 13:24
Only after the tribulation will the sun be darkened, the moon will not give its light. Only after the tribulation will Jesus Christ appear in the heavens to gather together His elect (church). The Rapture, biblically speaking is Post-Tribulational (Not to be confused with the posttribulation rapture view). Not only does this expose the pretribulation view to be a hoax, a lie concerning the timing of the Rapture but it also exposes another lie sold to the masses and that is the Pretribulation Rapturist teach that the entirety of Daniel’s 70th week is the tribulation period.
Now here is where much of the argument occurs, those who claim Matthew 24 to be strictly given to the Jews do so by saying “the elect” is not applied to the Church. They say the elect is a reference to the Nation of Israel, the Jews. Ok, I guess Paul got it wrong when he wrote the Church in Rome. In Romans 11:7 Paul says; “What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks, but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” “Israel” refers to the majority of those who are Jews by physical descent, including their recognized leadership. Having failed to obtain a right standing with God by rejecting the Christ they have been hardened in unbelief. So who then is the elect mentioned here?
A reason there is so much confusion over who Jesus was talking to and who He included when he mentioned “the elect” is to many people are looking to commentaries and books for their answers rather than the Scripture. To many people are looking for a well known, famous, high flying prominent teacher, preacher, theologian, etc to define words and spoon feed them the meaning of biblical texts rather than study God’s Word for themselves. Nearly every time the word “elect” is used in the New Testament it is referring to the saved, the born again, the Church. So as stated by Paul to the Romans, Israel has not obtained what it seeks, but the elect have…,” Israel has not, the Elect has! Two different people groups mentioned here folks! You can’t have it both ways.
Out of the sixteen times the word “Elect” is used in the Bible ten refer to all believers in general, two refer to believers who are specifically Gentiles, one refers to believers who are Jews, two refer to Jesus Christ Himself and one refers to Jacob the person. So to clarify, when Jesus taught His disciples that AFTER the tribulation He would “gather together His elect” He was referring to His Elect Church, believers.
After, Not Before!
As stated above, Pretribulation Rapturist see the Rapture as both imminent and secret with no prophetic signs signaling Christ’s decent to the clouds. This as we have seen is a lie, an untruth, therefore it falls under the category “fable.” As noted, Matthew 24:29-31 demonstrate the rapture as visible (Every eye will see Him vs.30; Rev. 1:7) and it only becomes imminent once the signs in the sun, moon and stars are seen. Most important, this passage clearly teaches the rapture to be “after” the tribulation.
It is here I would like to quote Robert Van Kampen who gives considerable thought to this important passage:
Thus there is total agreement in Scripture as to what the sign will be, but there also is complete consistency as to when this sign will occur; “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29a) but “before the great and awesome Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31). Christ therefore explicitly links together the sign of the end of the age that occurs “immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29a) with the sign prophesied in the Old Testament announcing the Day of the Lord, which will only occur when the great tribulation by Antichrist is “cut short” by Christ’s return.
In the very next verse Christ goes on to explain that the second sign–when “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky” (v.30a) will follow in immediate succession to the sign of the end of the age.4
It is here, after the great tribulation by Antichrist is cut short (Matt. 24:22) and the sign of the end of the age is given where the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky to rapture the dead and the living in Christ.
As I showed earlier, the characteristics between the classic rapture passage in 1 Thess. 4 corresponds perfectly with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24. So to prove that Matthew 24:29-31 is a clear cut teaching on the rapture of the elect we will again compare this passage with yet another rapture passage just so there is clarity on the matter.
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you” ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:1
“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” ~ Matthew 24:30
As noted earlier, Marks account makes it clear this gathering is from the earth to the sky (Mk. 13:27; heaven, sky, clouds, etc). Almost without exception, no matter what ones Eschatology is, all agree that 2 Thessalonians 2:1 is without a doubt a rapture passage. The original Greek text contains an important truth that Christ intended to convey to His disciples, the same truth Paul conveys to his readers at Thessalonica. Again, it is here I will quote Robert Van Kampen as no one in all my research shows this truth with the clarity he does:
The classic Rapture passage recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says that when the Rapture occurs, we will “be caught up together with them (the dead in Christ) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” The peculiar Greek word episunagō (“gather together”) used by Christ when He speaks to His disciples in the Olivet Discourse will prove that point.
Sunágō comes from two smaller Greek words that together mean “to bring together, come together, gather together, or assemble.” It is the root verb from which the noun sunagoge (“synagogue”) is derived. Basically, synagogue means a “gathering place,” where people assemble together.
In the Olivet Discourse, when we see the Son of Man coming on the clouds and sending His angels to gather together His elect, why is the Greek word episunagō used to describe this gathering, rather than just the root Greek verb sunágō? The answer to this question is very important. Adding the Greek preposition epí to the verb sunágō gives direction to the gathering. Epí basically means “on” or “upon” (just as epidermis refers to the top layer – epí – of one’s skin – dermis). So when this little preposition is added to the verb sunágō, it gives an upward direction to the gathering. Therefore, episunagō means a gathering together in an upward direction, or “a taking up and bringing together.”5
There is a clear parallel between Matthew 24:29-31 and Revelation 6:12-17. Soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal, unbelievers will hide in the rocks and caves, having seen Jesus on the clouds in the air, knowing that God’s wrath is imminent. It will begin with the opening of the Seventh Seal (Rev. 8:1). It is when the world sees Jesus in the air that He will gather and catch up His Elect Church at the Rapture, thereby rescuing them from the wrath to come. Jesus here does not return to the earth after the opening of the Sixth Seal, rather, when the Seventh Trumpet is blown nullifying the possibility that Matthew 24:30-31 is a picture of Jesus’ bodily descent to the earth, but is seen in the air, in the clouds.
1. The Rapture Plot; Dave MacPherson, p.5 Second Edition, Artisan Publishers.
2. Edward Irving, Babylon and Infidelity Foredoomed of God (Glasgow; Chalmers and Collins, 1826), p. 581
3. The Rapture Plot: Dave MacPherson, P.8-9 Second Edition, Artisan Publishers.
4. Robert Van Kampen, The Sign, (Crossway Boods, 1992), p.284
5. Robert Van Kampen, The Rapture Question Answered Plain & Simple (Fleming H. Revell a division of Baker Book House Company), p.184