At the request of some of my commenters (thank you guys!), I’m starting a series that examines the idea of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and, also, the Timeline of the End. It is always my goal to generate fruitful discussion and to challenge you to pray, to get into God’s Word and to study these things for yourself. There is only one, true interpretation of God’s Word and I trust God will reward your diligence [James 1:5-6].
First, let me say that I didn’t just want to post a bunch of articles and tell you what the Word says so let me suggest a little tangible exercise you can do that has really helped people I know better understand God’s Word on this issue before we get to the research.
— ACTIVITY —
Here’s what you do: take a bunch of sticky notes and write down the specific events/actions from the following verses on them. Put each event/action, even if it appears in the same passage, on a separate note. For example, in Revelation 20 it says Satan will be bound for a thousand years, Christ will reign for a thousand years and there will be a Great White Throne Judgment. Each of these events/actions will go on a separate note.
Next, make a line across a table with a piece of string, or, if you have a plastic table, you can use a strip of masking tape. This is your timeline that you are going to “flesh out”, so to speak. After you have written out each sticky note, lay them out on the table for viewing and place them where they go on the timeline. You will have to refer to the Scripture references to figure it out. I would encourage you to get your friends involved as well. We did this for my pastoral course with four of us together, some having never studied these things to any great detail and we all came to the same conclusion relying totally upon Scripture.
Here are the verses to use: Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, Daniel 9:27, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Revelation 19:11-21, Revelation 20 & Revelation 21.
Remember, write down the specific events separately on each sticky note and place them in order on the timeline.
— TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS STUDY —
- Intro and Exercise
- Christ Always Has the Last Word – A commentary on the false premise that prophecy is unknowable and the true imminence of Christ’s Return
- Is a Pre-Tribulation Rapture Biblical? – Refuting a Pre-Trib Rapture from Scriptural precepts
- The Manner of Christ’s Return – Christ will return in the same way He left [Acts 1:6-12; Zechariah 14:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; 1 Corinthians 15:52]
- Looking to Christ on His Return – Christ’s own words on His Return [The Olivet Discourse; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]
- The Thessalonians and the Thief – An examination of the analogy of the thief as used by Christ, Paul and Peter and how the analogy can be used to deduce that the time between the Rapture and the final battle is much less than seven years [1 Thessalonians 5:1-10; Revelation 19:11-21; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:12-17; Revelation 3:3; Zechariah 14:4; Revelation 11:19; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52]
- What is the Hour of Testing/Trial? – An examination of Revelation 3:10 showing it is not referring to a Pre-Trib Rapture
- Christ Will Raise Us Up on the Last Day – What day is He referring to? [John 6:38-40, 44]
- Maybe a timeline or two…
— ADVICE —
My advice for studying prophecy: keep it simple. Some of the same events in Scripture are described in different ways and referred to by different names. Read, read and read it again. Match up the “word pictures”. For example, in the Olivet Discourse and in Joel it talks about the sun, moon and stars being darkened. This is the same event. Through prayer, it will come together. Scripture has but one interpretation and you can know it. God gave us prophecy and He desires to reveal it to us.
Ok, here we go!