Of course when Jesus does return He will first cause all of His followers to be “caught up” to meet Him, an event otherwise known as the rapture. How could this not be discussed here? The controversy on this subject is quite deep and extremely important. There has been much said about this to the point that even the most secular people have heard of it and it has been the subject of countless writings and even movies. Although strangely enough, it has become a taboo subject inside many churches and pastors have become absolutely silent about it. Of course they won’t take a position it but by doing this they allow only one view to dominate. In modern times it almost always is depicted as happening before the tribulation even starts. This is called the Pre-Tribulation position or Pre-Trib. There are other views that aren’t so well known, except for those who are more the prophecy enthusiast types. My position is Post-Trib. The proponents of this view insist it was originally taught by the Jesus Himself and the early church fathers. Let me first say that anything other than the Post-Trib view will contain the same errors as Pre-Trib, only rearranged. This is why I will contrast these two and try to remain brief because it can go on almost endlessly. Pre Trib proponents have even freely admitted that there is not one verse in the bible that states their position! They need to infer quite a bit to support it. Here we will rely on the scriptures alone.
In the ONLY two Old Testament scripture examples that Jesus Himself used to teach about this event, He went to the story of Noah. *Matthew 24:37- But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. He also referred to the story of Lot. *Luke 17:28 &29- Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. In these two scenarios, God’s people were NOT delivered UNTIL the day that the Judgment from God came down from the sky above. Now consider Jesus’ own words in the very next sentence. *Luke 17: 30- It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. This makes it quite clear. But there is much more. However I will limit it to just a few references. *Revelation 15:8- The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed. The angels pour out the plagues right up to the very END! Next we look at what Paul said in *1Corinthians 15:51 & 52- Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. This is THE famous rapture passage and it includes those who have died being resurrected. Now look at *Revelation 20:4 & 5- And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. This proves that those who were in the tribulation were resisting the Beast and his mark which goes on until the very end. Because it is called the FIRST resurrection, there could not have been a rapture years earlier due to what we saw Paul says declaring the resurrection taking place immediately before the rapture. The next resurrection, according to *Revelation 20:4 & 5, cannot be for one thousand years after the first one. People usually try to make the definition of “first” resurrection into something very elastic rather than keeping the math simple and being able to count to two. We need to simply believe the scriptures! The Pre Trib version requires at least two raptures and three resurrections. The bible just does not support such a claim. Jesus exclusively tells of the believers being caught up and the events surrounding in *Matthew 24:29-31- 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. 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. Here is how the Apostle Paul speaks of it. *1Corinthians 15:51-54-Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality 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 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? So that I can be somewhat more concise I have to refrain from quoting entire chapters from *Isaiah 24-27. but will go over the highlights so anyone reading this can see it for themselves. In *Isaiah 24 the Lord devastates the Earth and the moon and sun are affected. *Isaiah 25 is exactly where Paul quotes from regarding death being swallowed up. *Isaiah 26 declares that dead men will live, their bodies will rise! *Isaiah 27 says that at that time the great serpent will be punished and there will be the sound of a great trumpet! Another reference to the trumpet is in *Revelation 11. At the sounding of this seventh trumpet we read of the dead being raised too. Here is part of the declaration made at the trumpet sound: *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 should give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth. I am always amazed how otherwise brilliant men could fall for such an unscriptural teaching. It will bring great reproach upon those who teach it and will be shown to harm the cause of the Gospel.