The Church will not go through the Tribulation. There is a distinct difference between
the Rapture and the Second Coming. Some may disagree with me, and that is perfectly okay. Whether you and I, do or do not agree about the
Rapture, it will have no effect on our salvation in Jesus Christ. However, for those who disagree, I strongly believe that rather than my being sorely disappointed, you will be pleasantly surprised.
There are many differences in these two events as shown here:
· Rapture: Jesus comes FOR His Church.
· 2nd Coming: Jesus comes back WITH His Church.
· Rapture: Jesus waits in the air for His Church.
· 2nd Coming: Jesus comes to the earth.
· Rapture: Church removed and unbelievers left behind.
· 2nd Coming: Unbelievers removed but Tribulation saints left behind.
· Rapture: He comes to present His bride to the Father.
· 2nd Coming: He comes to judge and set up His kingdom.
· Rapture: The marriage of the Lamb in Heaven follows the Rapture.
· 2nd Coming: The marriage is followed by war on earth.
· Rapture: It happens in the twinkling of an eye.
· 2nd Coming: Will be a steady view of His return.
· Rapture: Only the Church will see Him.
· 2nd Coming: Every eye will see Him.
· Rapture: Jesus descends with a shout.
· 2nd Coming: No shout is mentioned.
· Rapture: A resurrection takes place.
· 2nd Coming: No resurrection is mentioned.
· Rapture: It can happen at any time.
· 2nd Coming: Can only happen at the end of the Tribulation.
· Rapture: Angels are not sent. Jesus comes Himself.
· 2nd Coming: Angels are sent to gather people for judgment.
· Rapture: Earthly bodies are changed to Heavenly bodies.
· 2nd Coming: The Church returns with Heavenly bodies.
· Rapture: Jesus does not return on a white horse.
· 2nd Coming: Jesus does return on a white horse.
· Rapture: Jesus’ return is for His Church (His bride).
· 2nd Coming: Jesus returns for redeemed Israel and Tribulation saints.
· Rapture: It is a message of hope and comfort.
· 2nd Coming: It is a message of judgment.
I’m sure this is not an exhaustive listing, but with it we can see that the Rapture and the Second Coming are not one and the same.
The seven year period of Tribulation on earth will be a time of God’s wrath on earth like never before. He will judge the nations and through this self-same judgment bring Israel back in faith believing. “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17) But concerning His bride, the Church, He says, “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 1:10) He promised again in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)
Also, some see Revelation chapter four verse one as a clear reference to the Church being raptured. On the other hand, some do not, even though they believe in the Rapture. Personally, it is very clear to me that this passage is most definitely referring to the Church being taken up to Heaven via the Rapture. This verse is shown below in four reliable English translations.
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” (KJV)
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this." (NKJV)
“After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." (ESV)
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things." (NASB)
Note that in every instance verse one begins with the word “after” and ends the same. In chapter one of Revelation we see Jesus revealed (revelation) in His glory. In chapters two and three Jesus is speaking to the church. He then transfers the Apostle John to Heaven in chapter four verse one to continue the prophecy. In chapter one, we see the eternal “I Am.” In chapters two and three, we see the present day and age of the church period. Then beginning at chapter four, verse one He immediately takes us past the church age to the future.
If I go to see a play and there are three acts to the play, I will see one act after the other, not all three at once. Neither do they overlap in any way. If I attend a concert, I will listen to one song after the other, not all at one time. Neither do they overlap in any way. Neither do the church age and the Tribulation period co-exist or overlap in any way. One follows the other. As in a play, Act 1 comes BEFORE Act 2. Act 2 comes AFTER Act 1 and BEFORE Act 3. Act 3 comes AFTER Act 2. The Apostle John is shown the church age, and then he is raptured up to Heaven to see what follows the end of the church age. To me, you just can’t get any clearer than that. After means after.
Some say that the word “Rapture” is not in the Bible. That is true, and neither are the words “Bible” or “Trinity” found in the Bible, but they are just as true as the Rapture.
The word “Rapture” is derived from the Latin translation of “caught up” in
1 Thessalonians 4:17, “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.” The Latin translation uses the word “rapturo,” and this is where the word “rapture” is derived. The Greek word is “harpazo,” and it means:
1. To seize, carry off by force
2. To seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly
3. To snatch out or away
A few other verses where “harpazo” is used are:
Acts 8:39, “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”
Acts 23:10, “And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.”
2 Corinthians 12:2-4, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”
So there is no doubt that Jesus will come in the clouds and eagerly claim His bride the Church for Himself, by seizing her and snatching her away by force to Heaven at the end of the church age. The next act will be the Tribulation, AFTER the Rapture.
The Tribulation period is a time of intense judgment by God. What groom would beat the living daylights out of his bride and then say, “Okay, now let’s go get married.” It ain’t going to happen.
Some say that the Church has suffered persecution down through the years, so why would she not suffer during the Tribulation? The reason is quite simple. “Persecution” has come from evil men who carry out the deeds of their father, the Devil. Judgment comes from God. The Tribulation, as I have already stated, is not persecution. It is judgment. God is not going to judge those who He has already promised will be protected from His wrath to come. (See verses above.) Conclusion; the Church will not go through any part whatsoever of the Tribulation. She will be raptured (LT-rapturo), snatched up (GK-harpazo), BEFORE the Tribulation, and the Tribulation will commence AFTER the Rapture.
My articles are posted at “Pre-Rapture Commentary” http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com and many are also posted at “Rapture Ready” http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html.