Refutation of the Pretribulation Rapture

Refutation

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”:

1 Corinthians 15:22-24: “For as in Adam all die, even so IN CHRIST shall ALL be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward THEY THAT ARE CHRIST’S at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”

Who is resurrected at the Lord’s coming? ALL WHO ARE IN CHRIST. When does that happen? At the “last trump”:

1 Corinthians 15:52- “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

So at the last trump, ALL who are in Christ will be raised incorruptible. Paul further explains that when this happens, believers become immortal:

1 Corinthians 15:53- “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”1 Corinthians 15:54- “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.”

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:

Isaiah 25:8- “He will SWALLOW UP DEATH IN VICTORY; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.”

What does Isaiah go on to say happens “in that day”?

Isaiah 25:9- “And it shall be said 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:

Isaiah 26:20- “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”

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:

Isaiah 13:10- “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”

What happens immediately after these heavenly signs?

Isaiah 13:11- “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.”
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 2:10-11: “The earth shall quake before them; the heaven shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for THE DAY OF THE LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?”
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:

Matthew 24:29-30: “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: 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.”

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:

Matthew 24:31- “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.”

And “the four winds” is indeed referring to the sky:

Revelation 7:1- “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding THE FOUR WINDS OF THE EARTH, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”

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:

Revelation 16:15- “Behold, I come as a THIEF. Blessed is he that WATCHETH, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

This is after the armies are gathered together against the Lord at Armageddon:

Revelation 16:14- “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

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 5:2- “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a THIEF in the night.”
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”)?

Matthew 24:42-44: “Watch therefore:for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the THIEF would come, he would have WATCHED, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready:for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

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:

Revelation 19:7-8: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him:for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white:for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

The marriage of the Lamb is come, and the wife/bride (Gk. “gynÄ“”) 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):

Revelation 19:14- “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”

Who are the “armies”? According to the Lord and Paul, they’re His angels:

Matthew 16:27- “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his ANGELS; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 25:31- “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the HOLY ANGELS with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”
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:

Revelation 15:6- “And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in PURE AND WHITE LINEN, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.”

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”:

Revelation 19:14- “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Gk. “katharos kai lampros”).”

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:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise FIRST: 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.”

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”:

Acts 3:20-21: “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

When did the prophets say that would be? When the 70th “week” is complete:

Daniel 9:24- “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

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?

Revelation 22:12- “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is WITH me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

When are we told that we get this reward? At the 7th trumpet:

Revelation 11:18- “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give REWARD unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”

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?

Revelation 6:13-14: “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And THE HEAVEN DEPARTED AS A SCROLL WHEN IT IS ROLLED TOGETHER; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

Now look at the OT verses it’s taken from:

Isaiah 34:1-5: “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and THE HEAVENS SHALL BE ROLLED TOGETHER AS A SCROLL: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.”

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:

Revelation 16:12-14: “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

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 16:14- “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
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

 

 

 

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