Will The Rapture Come Later Than Expected? (Messianic Literary Corner) - Messianic Literary Corner

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Will the Rapture of the Church Come Later Than Expected?
by Marshall Beeber

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

1 Thes. 4:16-17 KJV "For  the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with  the voice of an , 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."

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.  The most popular of the mid or post tribulation rapture  theories today is called the "Pre-Wrath Rapture Tribulation" theory, originally authored by Rev Marvin Rosenthal.  The term "Pre-Wrath"  refers to the Rapture occuring after the Anti-Christ has been  revealed.  The Anti-Christ and all those alligned with him will cause  great persecution to Israel and the Church.  The Rapture then will occur  just before the Lord judges this entire earth and its inhabitants with  His wrath.

Jesus statement regarding the timing of the Rapture

Pre-Wrath  teachings base their doctrine on key passages by Jesus (Matthew  24:29-31) and Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:1-9).  

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.)
Isaiah 11:6-9  The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the  goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little  child will lead them. ... They will no longer injure or destroy on my  entire royal mountain. For there will be universal submission  to theLord’s sovereignty, just as the waters completely cover the sea.  (2nd coming: Upon Messiah Yeshua's reign, He will supernaturally  transform the natural world that we live in to be devoid of predation.  His kingdom will have domain over the entire earth., Ref. Zech 14:9)
Paul's statement 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.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-9
1 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,

Prophetic Timeline of the Prewrath Tribulation Theory (click for chart)
(Chart taken from Bibleprophecyblog.com)

Those  who support Pre-Wrath 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.  
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