The Messiah's Second Coming: Will It Be a Pre, Mid, or Post Tribulation Rapture?
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Most evangelical Christians in the world today believe in the "Second Coming" of the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) and the "Rapture". The Rapture is the popular term used to describe one aspect of the Lord's return as presented by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The word "rapture" comes from the Latin rapere used by the Vulgate to translate the Greek word harpazō ([Strong's ]), which is rendered by the phrase "caught up" in most English translations. See below:
Many evangelical Christians believe the timing of this event will occur before the Great Tribulation. This doctrinal teaching is termed Pre-Tribulational. A smaller segment of evangelical Christians believe the scriptures allude to part of or most of the Tribulation occurring before the Rapture. These two distinctions are termed at Mid-Tribulational and Post-Tribulational.
B. Jesus statements regarding the timing of the Rapture:
Both Mid-Tribulation and Post-Tribulation teachings base their doctrine on key passages by Jesus (Matthew 24:29-31) and Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:1-9). Also see table below for more references.
Matthew 24:29-31 emphasizes a gathering of the elect of G-d before the "Great and Terrible Day of the Lord". This passage indicates the Rapture will take place during tribulation, following the shaking of heavenly powers and sign of Son of Man in heaven.
Mid and Post-Tribulation Rapture teachings interpret Matthew 24:29-31 as referring only to a single Rapture occurring during a time of tribulation, where Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine interprets the same passage as referring to two Raptures, (one for the Church before and one after the Tribulation.)
C. Paul's statements regarding the timing of the Rapture:
From a biblical perspective, only one of these doctrinal stands can be correct. Let us move forward to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9 to shed more light on the topic.
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle 2 Thessalonians as both an encouragement to believers and a warning of false doctrine.
Paul's stated in 2 Thes. 2:3-4 that the second coming of the Messiah will not occur until a falling away occurs first, followed by the coming of the son of perdition (anti-christ), and then the defiling of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. This passage contradicts the Pre-Tribulational doctrinal viewpoint.
D. Table of Contrasts Between Pre and Post Tribulation Rapture Doctrine:
As one can see, there are major contrasts between Pre- and Post-Tribulation Rapture doctrine. Pre-tribulation doctrine extrapolates multiple Raptures, where Mid and Post-Tribulation doctrine only indicates one Rapture.
Those who support Mid and Post Tribulation doctrine believe they represent the correct escatological viewpoint of the timing of the Rapture. They also believe the effects of Pre-Tribulation doctrine within the Church is the spread of apathy and Spiritual slumber, thereby leaving believers unprepared for the Great Tribulation. Pre-Tribulationists also say they represent the only correct doctrine. They also accuse the Mid and Post Tribulationists of needlessly scaring the Church and promoting a general disbelief that God will deliver believers from such an awesome cataclysm.
Within dispensational theologies, the Rapture of the Church is viewed as a distinct event that shortly precedes the return or reign of Messiah and the re-establishment of the Davidic Kingdom. Most Messianic Jewish viewpoints on the Rapture are either dispensational or closely in agreement with dispensational eschatology. A sharp division on Pre and Post-Tribulation Rapture doctrine also exists within the Messianic Jewish (Hebrew Christian) movement.
This study is inclined towards a Mid or Post Tribulation doctrinal position. Below are links to various Mid and Post Tribulation websites.
Mid & Post Tribulation Rapture Viewpoints