The Messiah's Second Coming: Will It Be a Pre, Mid, or Post Tribulation Rapture? 

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Thanks for visiting our newly reconstructed website. The Messianic Literary Corner (formerly the Messianic Poetry Corner) was launched in 1997 by Marshall Beeber, a Messianic Jew (Hebrew Christian) since 1973.  MLC has evolved in its format to encompass "grace oriented" studies, basic prophetic teachings, scientific and archaeological apologetics, poetry and an Amazon.com associate store. - Read more at: http://www.messianic-literary.com/about.htm.

In Messiah's grace,

Marshall Beeber (Messianic Literary Corner director)

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by Marshall Beeber

A. Introduction:

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 #726]), which is rendered by the phrase "caught up" in most English translations. See below:

"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." (1 Thes. 4:16-17, ESV)

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, KJV

29 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.

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.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-9

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.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

 

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.

Event

Pretribulation Rapture

Posttribulation Rapture

Bible Reference

Christ coming in the clouds

twice

once

#1Thes 4.17

#Matt 24.30

Angelic involvement at His coming

twice

once

#1Thes 4.16

#Matt 24.31

Resurrection of believers

Twice, with the second one called the "first resurrection"

once

#1Cor 15.52

#Rev 20.4-5

Last trumpet sounds

twice

once

#1Cor 15.52

#Rev 11.15

Saints are rewarded.

twice

once

#Rev 22.12

#Rev 11.18

Believers are told to expectantly await His coming.

twice

once

#Titus 2.13

#Matt 24.42

Christ's advent to innitiate the day of the Lord is illustrated as being like the coming of a thief.

twice 1

once

#1Thes  5.2

#Rev 16.15

The sun is darkened, the moon is turned to blood (or darkened), the stars fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven are shaken (wonders in the sky or stars lose their brightness).

three times 1, 2

once

#Joel  2.30-31

#Joel 3.14-16

#Rev 6.12

#Matt 24.29

(Above chart has been referenced from Dan Dudley study on Post-Tribulation)

E. Summary:

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

The Rapture; by Theopedia Christian Encyclopedia

Post Tribulational Rapture; by Answers.com

A Post Tribulational Rapture; by Gavin Finley

Better Late Than Never: by Clark Hay of DC Ministries

Pre-Tribulation or Post Tribulation Rapture?; by Scott MacGregor

The Post Tribulational Rapture; by Dan Dudley

The Rapture; by Boston Christian Bible Study Resources

Three Views on the Rapure, Pre-, Mid- or Post-Tribulation; by Gleason Archer & Paul Feinberg (a Google online book)

Summary of "Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church" by Marvin Rosenthal

YouTube Video Defending a Post-Tribulation Rapture - Pastor Steven Anderson, Phoenix , AZ

 

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