Post by Jeff Wade:
Nothing is more controversial today than the subject of the Rapture. More specifically…when does the Rapture take place? The answer to this question is critical to answering another question, and that is…is the body of Christ doomed to face the Tribulation or destined for Translation?
Opponents of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, that is, the Rapture happening before the start of the 7 year Tribulation Period, like to point out that the church is supposed to endure tribulation. Jesus said in John 16:33 “…in the world ye shall have tribulation…”.
They will also point out verses such as: 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.”
My intention here is not so much to point out why such interpretations are wrong but rather to show why the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is right. To tie up all loose ends before proceeding, however, let me say this: tribulation mentioned in John 16:33 is not THE Tribulation and verse 30 of Matthew 24 is not the Rapture; it is the Second Coming, which are two separate events. So, when does the Rapture happen?
We can answer this question by addressing my second question.First, “Will the church of Jesus Christ have to endure the Tribulation Period?” May I suggest that we have to look no further for the answer than to take a look at the character of God. A journey back through the Old Testament shows a very interesting detail about God’s character, and that is… God will NEVER judge the righteous with the wicked.
We see this clearly in the book of Genesis regarding the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. When God sent word that He was going to destroy the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham asks God a very direct question in: Genesis 18:25
“That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
The Lord goes on to say that even for the sake of ten righteous souls He would not destroy the cities. We know that ten righteous souls could not be found in the two cities, but, who were found there were Lot and his family. Since ten righteous could not be found, did God go ahead and destroy righteous Lot and his family? Absolutely not! Angels were sent to take them out of Sodom before fire and brimstone rained down from heaven, utterly destroying the cities.
As the judgment of God is soon to fall upon this wicked world during 7 years of hell on earth, we can ask the same question as Abraham did, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Will God slay the righteous with the wicked? After rescuing Lot from Sodom before judging it, could He possibly leave His people on earth during the Tribulation Period to be partakers in His wrath? Do we, the body of Christ, have the same qualifications as Lot to be able to avoid the wrath of God? I say we do.
Notice these qualifications; First, the believer is righteous. The Bible says in II Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Because of the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, the born again child of God has been imputed with Christ’s own righteousness.
Secondly, the believer is not under God’s wrath. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 states, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Tribulation Period will be a time so awful that Jesus said there has never been a time like it nor ever will be! It will be a time when a Christ-rejecting world will be exposed to the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. Jesus said that except those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved alive.
Not only will the Tribulation be a time of wrath, but it will also be a demonstration of the wonderful mercy of a loving God. It will be God’s one last attempt to get the attention of the world and bring them to repentance. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, nor is He willing that any should perish. God’s attention is primarily on the nation of Israel at this time, as well as the inhabitants of this earth.
Therefore, the Tribulation Period was not designed for the believer in Christ. The purpose of the cross was to appease the wrath of God. Christ was judged on our behalf. He took our sin and in return His righteousness was imputed to us. So again, shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? If the believer had to face the very thing that Christ already took for us, would God be just? If we are already the righteousness of God in him, then what purpose would the Tribulation serve for the believer?
Romans 3:26 says, “God is just and the justifier of all who believe in Jesus!” Just as Lot was removed before the judgment of God fell on Sodom, so shall the body of Christ be translated before the judgment of God falls on this world during the Tribulation Period. The Judge of all the earth will do right! God’s wrath has been satisfied. The promise of God is that we will never have to face His judgment.
The Bible says in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” Rest assured, iis the Blessed Hope we look forward to, not the wrath of God! What a fearful thing for the believer, if, knowing how close we are getting to the days of the Tribulation Period, all we had to look forward to was God’s judgment! The believer will NOT go through the Tribulation Period. The word of God demands it! The justice of God demands it! The very character of God demands it! Praise God! Keep looking up. Jesus is coming soon!! Do not fret, my friends, we translate before the world tribulates! Amen.