Refutation of the Pretribulation Rapture
Pretrib claims that there are two resurrections of the just, separated by 7 years. Posttrib claims that there is only one resurrection/rapture of the just, which happens at the Lord Jesus’ post-trib, post-70th week return.
Who is resurrected at the Lord’s return? ALL who are “in Christ”:
Who is resurrected at the Lord’s coming? ALL WHO ARE IN CHRIST. When does that happen? At the “last trump”:
So at the last trump, ALL who are in Christ will be raised incorruptible. Paul further explains that when this happens, believers become immortal:
So Paul further goes on to say that when this happens; when the corruptible puts on incorruption; when “this mortal” shall put on immortality…”death is swallowed up in victory”. Notice that Paul says “then it shall be brought to pass THE SAYING THAT IS WRITTEN…”
Which “saying”? Where is it “written”? Again, Isaiah 25:8:
What does Isaiah go on to say happens “in that day”?
Lo, this is our God; WE HAVE WAITED FOR HIM, and he will save us: this is the Lord; WE HAVE WAITED FOR HIM, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Isaiah 26:1- “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of JUDAH; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.”
So Paul is citing a set of verses which presumably is for “Israel”, in the context that it is for ALL believers at the rapture. Imagine that. But it doesn’t end there. Look at what else it says:
This is a verse which pretrib loves to hijack for “church saints”, despite who the context says it’s for. As I posted earlier, “death is swallowed up in victory” AFTER the heavenly signs:
What happens immediately after these heavenly signs?
Isaiah 13:13- “Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”
So the stars of heaven don’t give their light, the sun is darkened, the moon won’t shine, and the heavens will be shaken. Joel describes this also, in three sets of verses:
Joel 2:31- “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible DAY OF THE LORD come.”
Joel 3:14-16: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the DAY OF THE LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”
So Joel uses the “dark moon” and “blood moon” language synonymously in describing the Day of The Lord (DoTL).
Lo and behold, the Lord describes these same heavenly signs as occurring AFTER the tribulation, and coinciding with His post-trib return:
What happens after the heavenly signs? His second coming. All of those OT prophecies call it “the day of the Lord”. And what happens at that time, according to the Lord? He sends His angels to gather together the “elect” from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other:
And “the four winds” is indeed referring to the sky:
So again, Paul inextricably links our resurrection [of EVERY believer- not just “church saints” (as opposed to “tribulation saints”)] to the post-trib, post-70th week DoTL, which, by definition, coincides with the Lord’s literal second coming.
Many quote Revelation 19, as if that changes anything. In actuality, it bolsters everything I’ve been saying. Why? Because first of all, again, the Lord is still telling us to “watch” for His coming like a “thief” even after the 6th vial:
This is after the armies are gathered together against the Lord at Armageddon:
So the Lord is clearly just about to return after the 6th vial, as the armies are gathered together against Him at Armageddon. So His second coming is what He described as coming like a “thief”. That is completely in line with what Paul described in 1 Thess 5 (the DoTL):
1 Thessalonians 5:4- “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a THIEF.”
Again, who does it come upon like a thief? The wicked, who aren’t watching.
But how could the Lord have told us that He comes like a “thief” in an unknown day and hour, if He comes at the end of the 70th week (something which we could count to from the middle of the “week”)?
The answer is the Feast of Trumpets. In Jewish idiom, the FoT is known as the feast which no one knows the day or hour of. Why? Because it requires two watchmen on the wall trying to spot the new moon. Once they spot it, they herald the start of the Feast. So it can only be narrowed to two days on any given year. Therefore, no one can know the “day/hour”. That doesn’t mean that it’s random, and can happen any day of the year.
The Lord fulfilled all 4 spring feasts with His first coming. Guess what the next feast is on the prophetic calendar? That’s right: the Feast of Trumpets. And it’s only going to come like a “thief” upon the wicked, because, again, they’re oblivious to all of this, and they’re not watching.
What’s more, in a 7th/8th century writing (“Pseudo-Ephraem”) which Ice, Jeffries, LaHaye, and Lindsay incorrectly use to claim a pretrib rapture, look at when the author said the unknown day/hour occurs: AFTER the week is complete:
“And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets, in the hour which the world does not know, and on the day which the enemy of son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty”
Again, this contradicts their popular claim that the Lord was describing a pretrib rapture in Matthew 24:42-44, because this anonymous author actually links those verses to the Lord’s post-trib return.
So THAT (the DoTL) is the “wrath” which we’re “not appointed to” (1 Thess 5:2,9).
As for the wedding announcement:
The marriage of the Lamb is come, and the wife/bride (Gk. “gynē”) has made herself ready. “She” is being spoken of in 3rd person singular. There is no evidence that the bride is already in Heaven. Customarily, wedding announcements are made prior to weddings, in every culture. This announcement is being made moments before the Lord’s post-trib, post-70th week return, and not a single verse describes a wedding or marriage supper occurring in Heaven. Only the announcement, followed immediately by a vivid description of the Lord’s return (verses 11-21):
Who are the “armies”? According to the Lord and Paul, they’re His angels:
Mark 8:38- “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the HOLY ANGELS.”
Luke 9:26- “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the HOLY ANGELS.”
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from HEAVEN with his MIGHTY ANGELS, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
But do angels dress in “fine linen, white and clean”? Yes:
In the Greek, those words “pure and white” are “katharos kai lampros”. Lo and behold, they’re the exact same words which Revelation 19:14 uses to describe the attire of the “armies”:
So the angels do indeed wear pure/clean, white linen. And again, the Lord NEVER described anyone other than His angels returning with Him from Heaven at His second coming. Neither did Paul.
But what about 1 Thess 3:13, 1 Thess 4:14, and Jude 14? Remember, Paul said that we “meet the Lord in the air” AFTER He emerges out of Heaven:
So the Lord leaves Heaven with His angels AFTER the tribulation, and THEN the “first resurrection”, and THEN the rapture of those who are “alive and remain” to “meet the Lord in the air”.
What is another way to know that the Lord only leaves Heaven after the week is complete? Peter told us that the Lord would remain in Heaven until “the restitution of all things”:
When did the prophets say that would be? When the 70th “week” is complete:
So He doesn’t leave Heaven prior to the end of the “week”. And for every believer, “death is swallowed up in victory” at that time.
Again, Scripture ALWAYS validates itself.
By the way, all of this precludes the possibility of the 21 judgments in Revelation from being sequential, as the Lord unambiguously places the 6th seal heavenly signs “after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29). Peter quoted Joel in verifying that those heavenly signs precede the DoTL (Acts 2:20).
So the 6th seal heavenly signs come at the end of the “week”, meaning a nonsequential unfolding of the judgments, with the 6th/7th seal. 7th trumpet, and 7th vials occurring simultaneously. Again, not only is the Lord still telling us to “watch” for His coming like a “thief” after the 6th vial (Revelation 16:15), which is after the armies are gathered together against Him at Armageddon, and not only do the 6th seal heavenly signs come “after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29), but there is also the issue of our “rewards”. What do I mean?
What does Scripture say about our “reward”, and when we get it?
When are we told that we get this reward? At the 7th trumpet:
So if He is bringing our reward WITH Him, and that clearly happens at the 7th trumpet, HOW can pretrib suppose that we’re raptured prior to the tribulation? Does He bring our reward with Him, take us back to Heaven, and withhold that reward until the 7 years are complete? That would be anticlimactic at best. However, if the 7th trump coincides with His literal post-trib, post-70th week return, Scripture is in harmony with itself.
Another way to know that the 6th seal actually follows the tribulation?
Now look at the OT verses it’s taken from:
So the “rolling together” is described, as well as the stars falling from heaven. But notice it also says that the Lord’s fury is upon all their “armies”, and also that His “sword shall be bathed”. So while the “heavenly signs” of Isaiah 34:1-5 matches up with Revelation 6:13 and 14, we know that this can’t happen at the 6th seal in a chronological framework, because the Lord’s fury isn’t upon their “armies” until Armageddon. The armies aren’t even gathered together against Him until after the 6th vial:
Lastly, What happens at the 6th seal? The men of the Earth are running for cover. Why? To protect them from the “wrath of the Lamb”. As we’re still here even after the 6th vial, I will argue strongly that the “wrath of the Lamb” is different from the “wrath of God” (vials). The “wrath of the Lamb” is speaking of the Lord’s literal return. What’s happening at the 6th vial?
Revelation 16:16- “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
Unless one thinks the Lord’s “glorious appearing” isn’t very impressive after all, there is no way that the wicked go from a state of utter dread at the 6th seal, get pummeled for a few years, and suddenly become courageous at the 6th vial against the same One they were dreading at the 6th seal. The natural progression would be bravery-to-fear. So the 6th vial is happening before the 6th/7th seal, and they’re gathering together against the Lord at the 6th vial because they haven’t seen Him yet. But after the heavenly signs at the 6th seal, when the lights go out cosmically, and He appears on the clouds (and on a horse), it’s THEN that they scram for the mountains.
So the 6th/7th seal, 7th trump, and 7th vial occur simultaneously.
There is evidence that the early church fathers knew the judgments to be nonsequential as well, by the way:
“[A]lthough the same thing recurs in the phials [vials], still it is not said as if it occurred twice, but because what is decreed by the Lord to happen shall be once for all; for this cause it is said twice. What, therefore, He said too little in the trumpets, is here found in the phials [vials]. We must not regard the order of what is said, because frequently the Holy Spirit, when He has traversed even to the end of the last times, returns again to the same times, and fills up what He had before failed to say. Nor must we look for order in the Apocalypse; but we must follow the meaning of those things which are prophesied.” ~ Victorinus, Commentary on the Apocalypse, 7