The Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Saints
The Best Evidence for the Pre-Trib Rapture
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, 17-18)
Jesus had told His disciples on many occasions to follow Him, but on the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that where He was going, they could not follow (John 7:33-34; 13:33, 36). He said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
There is coming a day, when the Lord shall descend from Heaven to the upper atmosphere of earth. The saints who have died and are “present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8), “will God bring with Him”. At this time, their bodies are “raised incorruptible” (1 Corinthians 15:52). Secondly, all those who have believed “that Jesus died and rose again”, but have never died, “shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52). Like a new garment, they shall “put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53), and shall be caught up (raptured) together with those who have died in Christ, to meet the Lord in the air.
What was a mystery in the Old Testament (1 Corinthians 15:51), today we call the Rapture. In the Old Testament, they knew there would be a resurrection (Job 19:25-27, Psalm 17:15; 49:14-15; 71:20, Isaiah 26:19, Hosea 6:2; 13:14, Daniel 12:2, John 11:23-26, Acts 24:15), but knew not what would happen to those believers who had never died before that day.
We should also note, that Jesus does not return to earth at this time, that is a different event called the “Second Coming” of Christ, when He returns with “all His saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13, Jude 1:14-15, Zechariah 14:5). The Second Coming takes place at the end of the seven year Tribulation.
Before Christ ascended into heaven, He spoke to His disciples of things pertaining to the kingdom of God, He spoke concerning the Holy Spirit whom He was going to send, and of their new mission to be witnesses for Him unto the ends of the world (Acts 1:1-4, 5-8). Then, after “he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
It was from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12) that the Lord had ascended to Heaven where a cloud received Him out of their sight. Two men standing by said Jesus will return in the same manner as He went. The Scriptures are quite clear about His “Second Coming”. When the Lord returns, it will be to fight against those nations who are gathered against Jerusalem during the Day of the Lord (Zechariah 14:1-3). “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives… and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zechariah 14:4-5).
It is quite clear that His return to earth takes place in the “Day of the Lord”, when He returns with all His saints. The “Second Coming” of Christ is a distinct and separate event from the “Rapture”. At the Rapture:
1. The Lord descends from Heaven to the upper atmosphere of the earth with all the believers in Christ (the Church) who died before the Rapture. (Note: In approximately the year 2032 AD, it will be 2000 years since the birth of the Church.)
2. The dead in Christ (their spirit) are reunited with their new resurrected bodies.
3. Those who are alive on earth are “changed” (Philippians 3:21) and “caught up” in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, together with those resurrected saints.
The “Second Coming” is when the Lord returns back to earth “with all His saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13, Jude 1:14) when every eye shall see Him (Revelation 1:7; 19:11-14, 15-16). The Rapture takes place in the clouds, away from the eyes of all those upon the earth, just like the Lord, when “he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight”.
So we have two distinct events in view. First, the Lord catching His saints up to meet Him in the clouds. The second, is the Lord returning to earth with all His saints. We know distinctly the timing of the Lord's return to earth, which happens in the Day of the Lord (Zechariah 14:1, 4-5). The Day of the Lord begins with the 7 year Tribulation and the Lord returns at the end of the 7 year Tribulation. This is an important note that we should remember as we move on to the next section.
Now what we are not told in these passages is WHEN the Lord will return to gather His people to be with Him. In my own mind, it is quite clear from the Scriptures, that, although we do not know the day nor the hour, we know that the Rapture takes place before the Day of the Lord, before the 7 year Tribulation. However, it is quite apparent that not everybody holds this position for there are about a half a dozen different views as to when the Rapture will take place, some believing we go through all or part of the 7 year Tribulation.
I believe that the greatest proof text for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church is in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Now, this has become quite a controversial text, because many good Bible teachers understand the phrase, “falling away”, in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, to mean a “falling away” from “the faith”. But it is clear, that the “falling away” happens “first”, before the Day of Christ, when the Antichrist is revealed. Those who hold to the idea, that the “falling away” is a “departure from the faith” call the “falling away” an “apostasy” which must happen before the “man of sin is revealed”. It is our position that the “falling away” is NOT referring to an “apostasy” (which the Bible teaches elsewhere), but in this passage, it is the “departure” of the Church to be with Christ, which is commonly called the Rapture. This is the argument that we will try to present in this article.
Now, the Bible says the “falling away” happens “first”, before the “man of sin is revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Those that believe the "falling away" means "apostasy", believe it has to happen "first", before the the "Day of the Lord", when the "man of sin is revealed". However, we believe the greatest “apostasy” or “departure from the faith”, will happen after the Rapture, in "that day" when the “man of sin is revealed”. All true believers will be gone, they will have departed from the earth. Those who earnestly contend for the faith will be gone, leaving all those who received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
The Greek word from which the phrase “falling away” is translated, is “apostasia”, which today, has been transliterated into the English language as “apostasy”. Most modern dictionaries today define “apostasy” as a “departure from one's religion”. One thing we might also consider, is that, while most Bible teachers today, understand the “falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 to be a “falling away” from "the faith" (an “apostasy”) in the last days, we must also understand that there have been many “apostasies” throughout history, right from the very first century.
The apostle Paul said, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30) Peter said, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2 Peter 2:1-2)
Peter and Paul seemed to be prophesying about a time in the near future when there would be an “apostasy”, but in Jude's little epistle, he said this prophecy was already fulfilled. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:3-4) Jude says, these men were written or prophesied about before, not only by Peter and Paul, but even back in the days of the prophet Enoch (Jude 1:14-15).
By the time Jude wrote his little epistle these false teachers and wolves had already “crept in unawares”. From that very time, the Devil was busy sowing tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:38-39). The apostle John, who was the last writer in the New Testament wrote, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2:18) John clearly stated that it was “the last time”, literally the last “hour” (Gr. hora), and there were many antichrists.
The apostasy had already started. The apostle Paul described the course of history like this, “...evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:1, 13). The course of history would not be one of Christianity lifting the world up to a high standard, no, in fact, when Constantine legalized Christianity in the fourth century, and the world entered that terrible time known as “The Dark Ages”, when the churches became subject to the rule of Rome, and joined themselves to paganism which still lingers on until this day.
When it became evident that the nation Israel had stopped their ears and closed their eyes to the gospel of the Kingdom, Jesus described the course of history in a parable saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened” (Matthew 13:33). Leaven symbolized evil and false doctrine (Matthew 16:6, 11-12, Mark 8:15). The Church would not bring in the Kingdom, rather, it would be given over to the corrupting influence of leaven. The “three measures of meal” evidently correspond to the “three tenth deals of fine flour” in Leviticus 14:10. In the Levitical offerings, the offerings were NOT to be “made with leaven” (Leviticus 2:1, 11). These offerings were a type of Christ (John 6:33), who was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Christ was the Passover Lamb, without spot or blemish (1 Peter 1:19, John 1:29), who came to bring life into the world, but now His work was being corrupted with the leaven of wickedness (1 Corinthians 5:8). Like the leaven that was “hid in three measures of meal”, so these false teachers and wolves “crept in unawares” to mix in their false teaching, lies and deception. Paul says, “for we being many are one bread, and one body” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17), but leaven was introduced and its corrupting influence would progress “till the whole was leavened”.
That there would be a “departure from the faith” in the last days is also evident from other Scriptures (1 Timothy 4:1), so it is not a question of whether or not faith will be found on the earth at the Lord's return (Luke 18:8), for seducing spirits and doctrines of demons will be rampant. And I have no doubt, that the greatest “apostasy” will take place after the Church is gone, when we are told, “iniquity shall abound” (Matthew 24:12), for the Church will have departed from this present evil world to be with Christ. The Church is the "light of the world" (Matthew 5:14-16), and when they are gone, how dark will be that Day (Amos 5:18).
The question that we are now faced with is, does the context dictate that the “falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, is referring to a “falling away” from “the faith”? A “departure” from “the faith” or the “departure” of the “Church”?
In my thesis here, I would like to suggest that, in the context, the “falling away”, as here translated, is referring to the Rapture of the Church. In my opinion, the whole of the context is presenting the best evidence for the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church.
We might take note that the Greek word for the phrase “falling away” is “apo-stasia”. This is derived from two Greek words “apo” and “stasia”. “Apo” is usually translated “from”, and “stasia” is where we get our word “stasis” as in “stationary”. So when we move “from” a “stationary” position, we call that a departure, like a departure from a train station. When troops are stationed in a certain city, but then they are called to move out, they depart from that location. The saints, like troops in a great war, for the moment are stationed in this world, but one day they will summond by the Commander in Chief, and will depart from this present world.
The verb form of "apo-stasia" is “ap-histemi”, which is derived from two Greek words, again “apo”, translated over 300 times as “from”, and “histemi” usually translated “stand”. When we are standing, we are in stasis, or a stionary position. We might understand this to mean “stand away from”, but "ap-histemi" is usually translated “depart” (10 times), but it is also translated one time as “fall away” like “apo-stasia” which is also translated one time as “falling away”.
Another similar word is “apo-stasion” which means to divorce. The idea is that of two people who are together and they separate, or depart from one another, or “fall away” from each other.
What has gotten a lot of people to think that the “falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, is a “falling away” from "the faith", is that the Greek word underlying that phrase is “apostasia”, and that it looks similar to our English word “apostasy”, which in our English venacular means a “departure from ones religious belief”. But “apostasia” in the Greek only means “departure” and can be a departure from anything. This is how William Tyndale translated "apostasia" in his Tyndale Bible, this is how the Geneva Bible, the Coverdale Bible and also the Matthew Bible translated it, simply as a “departure”.
We might also note, that the word “apostasia” (noun) is only used twice in the Bible. The other place it is translated “to forsake”. “And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake (Gr. apostasia) Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.” (Acts 21:21)
In the context here, they were said “to forsake” or “depart” from Moses or the Law. The verb form of “apostasia” is the Greek word “aphistemi” which is usually translated “depart” and is used as follows, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from (Gr. aphistemi) the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). In this verse "aphistemi" is translated “shall depart from”. But now we have to look at the CONTEXT to be sure we are understanding what the departure is from, because it could be from anything, but in this verse it is a departure from, “the faith”.
In Luke 2:37, we find a widow who “departed (Gr. aphistemi) not from this the temple”. In Luke 4:13, we find after Satan's temptation of Jesus that “he departed (Gr. aphistemi) from him for a season.” We read of Mark “who departed (Gr. aphistemi) from” (Acts 15:38) Paul and Barnabas on one of their missionary journeys. We find that Paul “departed (Gr. aphistemi) from” (Acts 19:9) certain Jews after they had become hardened. In each case, what they “departed from” was clearly identified in the context. The noun form of “aphistemi” is “apostasia” and it is used in the same way when it says, “to forsake (Gr. apostasia) Moses”. If we were not told about “Moses”, we would not know what they “departed from”.
My whole point is, if we are to understand this controversial Scripture (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and “word” correctly, the context will dictate what the departure is from. So, let us look at the context of the Scriptures we are trying to discern:
1 ¶ Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 ¶ Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)
So, in the context of this chapter, Paul is going to address two distinct events. First, the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” and secondly, “our gathering together unto Him” which takes place before the “Day of Christ”. The “Day of Christ” is the same as the “Day of the Lord”, but when speaking to the saints, for believers, it is the “Day of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14, Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:16), for the lost, it is a day of judgment coming upon the world (Jude 1:14-15), the “Day of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6-9; Ezekiel 30:3, Joel 1:15; 2:1-2, Zephaniah 1:7-8, 14-17, 18).
Now, “that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first”. “First” there will be a “departure”. This will take place before “the Day of Christ”. Secondly, the "man of sin" (the Antichrist) will be “revealed”, but in the context, someone was “withholding” (same Greek word as “letteth”) the Antichrist from being “revealed”. Someone (“he”) had to “first” be taken out of the way before Antichrist would be revealed. After “he” is taken out of the way, only “then shall that Wicked be revealed”.
In verse six Paul said, "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time." Paul clearly told them, that "Day", when the "man of sin is revealed", shall NOT come until there come a "falling away first". He says, "now ye know"! It is the "falling away" that must take place "first"! Paul said someone was restraining the "man of sin" from being revealed, but when, "he" would be "taken out of the way"... then shall that Wicked be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). You can not get away from the CONTEXT. The "falling away" and being "taken out of the way" are the same event.
The question is then, Who is "He"? I do not think there is anyone who does NOT believe that "He" is the Holy Spirit who dwells in all believers (Romans 8:9, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:16), for we are the Temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19), who has sealed us (Ephesians 1:13), and abides with us "for ever" (John 14:16-17). “Greater is He that is in you” (1 John 4:4), so, when "he be taken out of the way” we depart together.
Now in verse five Paul says, “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” Well, in his previous letter to the Thessalonians, you will be hard pressed to find anything written about a “last days apostasy”. But you will find the departure he was talking about, it is our departure from this earth, where we will be gathered with all the Church saints to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, 17-18). He also told them that they would be "in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming" (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
“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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
This was supposed to be a comfort to the Church at Thessalonica, first of all, because there was the promised resurrection and reunion with their loved ones who had died in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Secondly, because they were not appointed to the coming wrath during the Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11), rather, they would be "in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming" (1 Thessalonians 2:19). However, it seems they had forgot these words of comfort, and their “hearts became troubled” (John 14:1), so Paul had to remind them, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” (2 Thessalonians 2:2)
Now read again, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11, 12. Notice how often Paul points out “they” and “them”. Now go back to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, right after he tells them to be comforted with our soon catching up (rapture) to be with the Lord.
1 ¶ But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 ¶ Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 ¶ Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
There is a stark contrast between “us” and “them”, “we” and “they”, just like the context in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.
If we will stick with the context, we cannot miss what will happen FIRST. It is the Rapture, “our gathering together unto Him”. Paul explained this to them in his previous letter. He had told them before concerning the times and the seasons. He says, First comes the departure (our gathering together unto Him), then comes the Day of the Lord when that Wicked shall be revealed. The Day of darkness shall overtake “them”, the children of darkness, NOT the children of light for they will be Raptured prior to this time. “For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:35), and “they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
There is an “escape”, however, to the children of God, “that that day should overtake you”, and that is the Rapture of the Church. The Church must FIRST be taken out of the way. They shall depart from this worlds scene, then that Wicked shall be revealed. This is what will trigger the Day of the Lord, that terrible time called, the Great Tribulation. The Lord said, I “will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10). “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.” (v. 6) It is not “apostasy” that is withholding the revealing of that Wicked. That would do serious violence to the context of the Scripture. It is the Rapture of the Church, which Paul says, must first “be taken out of the way” and “caught up” to be with the Lord.
The Rapture of the saints happens before the Day of the Lord. The “Second Coming” of Christ, “with all His saints”, comes at the end of the Great Tribulation, when the whole world is gathered around Jerusalem to destroy His people Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3, 8-10; 13:1; 14:1-4, 11, Joel 2:32; 3:16-17).
That is the Day of the Lord, the “day of His wrath” (Zephaniah 1:14-18, Job 21:30, Revelation 6:17), which He has “not appointed us to” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11). That is the Day when He will “make thine enemies thy footstool” (Luke 20:43, Acts 2:35). (Note: “make” and “appointed” are the same Greek word). That is the Day appointed for His enemies, not for us.
Nevertheless, “Let not thine heart be troubled” (John 14:1-3), rather, “comfort one another with these words”, for He is coming “first” to gather His Church together unto Himself and then comes the Day of the Lord when that Wicked shall be revealed, whom the Lord shall “consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming”, “whose coming is after the working of Satan” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9). At the “Second Coming” of our Lord Jesus Christ, He shall destroy “that Wicked”. This is the second event that Paul said he would address in 2 Thessalonians 2:1.
The Devil will have his hay day (Revelation 13:5-8), but it will be short lived. The day is coming when he shall deceive the nations no longer (Revelation 20:3). The “working of Satan” shall be interrupted by the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, when He returns “with all His saints”, for we are "in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming" (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
It is quite evident that our “gathering together unto Him” before the “Day of Christ” and, “His coming” to destroy Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:8, Revelation 19:19-21), are two different and distinct events. In the Day of the Lord “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:4, Daniel 7:11; 8:25)
Do not perish with the wicked. The Lord Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29) The world of religion says, you must work, work, work. If you are to be saved, you need to hang on, hold fast, endure to the end, be baptized, keep the faith, and the list goes on and on, and even then you are never sure if you have done enough. Do not fall for the Devil's “click bait”. If you will come to Jesus, you shall find rest unto your souls, for He has done ALL the work on Calvary's Cross to take away your sin and make you fit for heaven. Jesus said, “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) Believe the GOSPEL (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and TRUST (Ephesians 1:13) Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and you shall receive the free gift of everlasting life (John 5:24). I pray you will today.
When Paul was speaking of the Rapture, he told the Thessalonians, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Understand this one thing, the world has “no hope” (Ephesians 2:12), they are without Christ, and without God in the world. Death is a scary thing to the lost (Hebrews 2:14-15), and without Christ, there is only “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:27-29).
But there is no need to sorrow like the world when you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” What a blessed hope we have. Peter says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Today I pray you are, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:13-14) This looking for, waiting for, watching for Jesus Christ, who is our hope, has a purifying effect, as the apostle John said, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3) The day is coming when He shall call us up to be with Himself, and on that day, we shall put off the body of this death (Romans 7:24) and “we shall be like him”. What a blessed hope we have as believers in Christ.
Last Update: 4/15/2020
Where did you get the idea that the Church must be taken out of the way?
The scriptures refer to a male individual, a person. The Church is referred to in the feminine form. Your interpretation of the timing of rapture is completely unbiblical and unsupported by the Greek text.
The subject matter that Paul is talking about in the context is "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him" (v.1)
The Thessalonians thought the Day of Christ had come, but Paul explains to them that that day shall not come until they are first gathered together to be with Christ, "then shall that Wicked be REVEALED, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his COMING... whose COMING is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders" (v. 8-9). The Coming of Christ is after the working of Satan and his son of perdition.
There was something witholding the Antichrist from being revealed. Paul said, "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be REVEALED in his time." (v. 6) Paul said, "now you know". He said, the Day of Christ "shall not come, except there come a falling away FIRST" (v. 3) The "falling away" is a departure, and the departure in the context is our departure to be with Christ. The rapture had to take place FIRST, so Paul says, "now ye know what withholdeth that he might be REVEALED in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only HE who now letteth [will let], until HE be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be REVEALED" (v. 6-8) Something was restraining the Antichrist from being REVEALED, and that was the Church. The "He" that "now letteth" (restrains) we believe to be the Holy Spirit indwelling every believer who is born again.
Jesus said, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that HE MAY ABIDE WITH YOU FOREVER; [Even] the SPIRIT of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be IN YOU." (John 14:16-17)
It stands to reason, that when "HE is taken out of the way" that is when we are gathered together to be with Christ.
The Day of Christ can not come:
"except there come a falling away FIRST, and that man of sin be REVEALED" (v.3)
"now ye know what withholdeth that he might be REVEALED" (v. 6)
"HE who now letteth will let, until HE be taken out of the way. And THEN shall that Wicked be REVEALED" (v.7-8)
The "falling away" is the same as being "taken out of the way", it is "our gathering together unto Him" (v. 1) This happens "FIRST", "THEN shall that Wicked be REVEALED", who shall be destroyed "at the COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints" (1 Thessalonians 3:13).
I hope this helps.
i really enjoy and look forward to your messages . keep up the good work. god bless you and your family. loner