Biblical Proof Of A Pretribulation Rapture
By David J. Stewart | February 2007 | Updated May 2015
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.” —Hebrews 11:5
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught that He might come back at any time, suddenly, imminently, without any notice or signs. The most important characteristic of Christ’s return is that it could happen without warning, suddenly, catching us off guard if we’re not faithfully serving our Master…
Mark 13:32-37, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
The Lord told us TO WATCH, because He might come back at any time, suddenly. For anyone to teach that the Rapture cannot happen until after the 7-year Tribulation period is blatant heresy. There’s absolutely no way that the Rapture could happen after the Tribulation. There are numerous reasons. The following passage of Scripture 100% proves the Pretribulation return of Christ…
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.”
If Steve Anderson and Alex Jones are correct in their Postribulation heresy, then we would know absolutely that Christ cannot return until after the Rapture (which would make Matthew 24:42-44 impossible). How can we watch for the Lord’s imminent and sudden return if He cannot return until after all the tragic events of the 7-year Tribulation period (as taught in the book of Revelation)? The only logical and workable conclusion is a Pretribulation Rapture, that is, the Rapture will take place BEFORE the Tribulation Period.
Was Enoch The First Man To Be Raptured?
“By faith Enoch was TRANSLATED that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had TRANSLATED him: for before his TRANSLATION he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” —Hebrews 11:5
In Hebrews 11:5 we learn that Enoch was “translated” that he should not see death. However, this presents a problem because Romans 6:23 teaches that the wages of sin is death, and Romans 5:15 says that all men have sinned and therefore must die. Elijah was also caught up into a whirlwind of fire the Bible says, escaping natural death (2nd Kings 2:11). This is why some Bible students believe that Enoch and Elijah will be the two End Time prophets during the Revelation, who will be killed by the Antichrist (Revelation 11:3-12). This is speculation, as we do not know for certain.
I have heard some Bible scholars teach that Enoch was the first man to be Raptured, i.e., translated; but I do not agree with that. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the “firstfruits” in 1st Corinthians 15:20 and 23, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept… But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” Jesus was killed, and then rose from the dead victorious in a glorified body. Likewise, believers will be changed; corruption shall put on incorruption; and our mortal bodies will be changed into immortal bodies, glorified in the likeness of our precious Lord’s body. This will happen only at the Rapture when the Lord physically returns FOR His own, and not before.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Person to ever have died and then raised up and given a glorified body. Enoch and Elijah were miraculously removed from the world, but the Bible does not say that they were changed nor that they received glorified bodies. I would tend to agree that these two men are likely the prophets whom God will send to preach for 3 1/2 years during the Tribulation and then they will be killed, but again, I do not know for certain nor would I argue the point.
The Bible Plainly Teaches A Pretribulation Rapture
The Church will be removed from the earth BEFORE the appearing of the Antichrist (2nd Thessalonians 2:7,8). There isn’t one verse in the entire Bible which indicates that the Church will go through the Tribulation period. In fact, if you want proof of a Pretribulation Rapture, you’ll find it simply by studying the Bible. If we compare Scriptures having to do with the Translation of the Church (i.e., the Rapture), with those passages relating to the setting up of Christ’s Kingdom, one can only reasonably conclude that it would be utterly IMPOSSIBLE for these two events to occur simultaneously. Let’s look at some of the comparisons:
Matthew 25:31,32 – “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. And before him shall be gathered all nations” Carefully notice that Jesus is going to sit upon His throne in Jerusalem when He returns, and the nations of earth will be gathered before Him to be judged. How can this fact be reconciled with 1st Thessalonians 4:17, which states that the saints will be caught up together to meet with the Lord in the air?
Matthew 25:32 to 34 – “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” When the Lord returns to the earth at the Second Coming WITH His own, He is going to gather the nations of the earth together—separating the sheep from the goats (vs. 32), i.e., the righteous from the unrighteous. The sheep (saved) will simply enter the Kingdom, and the goats (unbelievers) be cast into everlasting fire. The test in this judgment is the treatment accorded by the nations to those whom Christ here calls “my brethren.” These brethren are the Jewish remnant (i.e., the 144,000) who will have preached the Gospel of the kingdom to all nations during the Tribulation. Carefully notice, there is NO mention of a resurrection and the persons judged are the nations of the earth. In sharp contrast, according to 1st Corinthians 15:52 there WILL BE a resurrection at the time of the Rapture.
It is important to recognize that when Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom there is NO Rapture, i.e., no one is caught up into the air to be with the Lord. People who become Christians during the Tribulation Period will enter with their earthly bodies into the Millennium. Proof of this is found in Isaiah 65:20-25, and in Zechariah 8:5 where children are mentioned playing during the Millennium. Those saved during the Tribulation will enter physically into the Millennial Kingdom. Where will these humans come from if the saints are ALL raptured and changed at the END of the Tribulation, i.e., a Postribulation Rapture? Obviously this cannot be. The only logical conclusion is a Pretribulation Rapture!
Jude 1:14 – “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” Carefully notice that NO mention is made of a Rapture at this time. Quite the contrary, here the Lord Jesus is returning with TEN THOUSANDS of His saints to the earth. That is drastically different than having our bodies changed, in the twinkling of an eye, and being “caught up” into the clouds to meet with the Lord. It would make no sense to say that Jesus is going to Rapture the saints, while coming to set up His Kingdom at the same time. Proof that this is not the case is the fact that Jesus will gather the nations and separate the sheep from the goats, i.e., the saved from the unsaved, at His Second Coming. Why would Jesus separate the saints TWICE? That is, why would Jesus Rapture the saints into the air, and then regather the SAME people a short time later when He arrived on the earth? Do you see the dilemma of the Postribulation heresy?
Revelation 19:11 to 14 – “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Here we read about ARMIES from Heaven, riding upon white horses, following Christ into the Battle of Armageddon. There is NO mention of a Rapture. There is NOTHING in 1st Corinthians 15:51-54 or 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 about armies, or ten thousands of saints, coming to earth to war. The exact opposite is stated… we will be LEAVING this sin-cursed earth! Amen!
These are but a few clear and irrefutable Scriptural evidences teaching a Pretribulation Rapture.
Further Evidence of a Pretribulation Rapture
God will NOT allow the Church to go through the Tribulation Period. It will be a time of atrocities as the world has never known! God wouldn’t destroy the wicked in Noah’s day until Noah and his family were all safely aboard the ark. Not one drop of rain fell until Noah and his family were on the ark, and God had shut the door. Afterwards, the rains fell and the wicked were utterly destroyed.
The same is true of Lot and his family. Although Lot was a backslidden believer, he was nevertheless a “just man,” a righteous man (2nd Peter 2:7,8). We read in Genesis 19:22, “Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither.” These words were spoken by the angel whom God had sent to reign down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. No judgment could fall upon Sodom, until Lot and his family were removed. Likewise, the Church will be Translated (Raptured) away from this sin-cursed world before the Tribulation.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also 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
The “word of my patience” in Revelation 3:10 is the Word of God. Here we have God’s promise that because we have kept HIS WORD concerning salvation, i.e., because we have OBEYED the Gospel, He will keep us “from the hour of temptation” (i.e., the Tribulation Period). This seven-year period of tribulation is referred to in the Old Testament as The Time of Jacob’s Trouble in Jeremiah 30:7-11…
“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him … Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.”
It will be when the Church is removed from the earth (i.e., after the Rapture) that God will again recognize the nation Israel in a special covenant relationship with Himself. During the Great Tribulation, a remnant out of Israel will repent and turn to their Messiah. They will become His witnesses (Revelation 7:3-8).
Thus, the time of Jacob’s trouble will cause many Israelites to turn to the God of the Bible. We read in Matthew 24:14 concerning the Tribulation Period, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” We read in Revelation 7:4 who the 144,000 are going to be… “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” The 144,000 will be Jewish soulwinners! These are the preachers spoken of in Matthew 24:14. They will win multitudes of lost sinners to the Lord (Revelation 7:9). As a result, many of them will be martyred (Revelation 6:9).
The Abomination of Desolation
As I look at the events of the world today, and the stage being set for the coming Antichrist, I personally believe that the Pretribulation Rapture is near, i.e., the Rapture will precede the 7-yearTribulation Period. The Bible plainly states that no man knows WHEN the Lord will return (Mark 13:32), which means that the Rapture MUST come before the Tribulation Period. The reason is because the Bible plainly states that the Second Coming of Christ will happen 3 1/2 years AFTER The Abomination of Desolation, i.e., when the Antichrist declares himself to be god and demands worship from the masses of the world (Mark 13:14; Daniel 9:27). So it will be KNOWN exactly how much time remains before the Second Coming, once the Antichrist declares himself to be god from the temple in Jerusalem. If you study the King James Bible at face value, you can only conclude a Pretribulation Rapture.
Why the Tribulation Period?
Although the Tribulation will affect the entire earth, and everyone in the world–it will center primarily around the nation of Israel (Ezekiel 20:37; 22:18-22; Malachi 3:2,3). We read in Ezekiel 20:37-38, “And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” This prophecy concerns Israel during the Tribulation Period. Ezekiel tells us “why” God will allow this horrible time of unimaginable suffering and horror for the Jews. It will be a time of judgment against the people who have rebelled against the Lord.
He will cause them “to pass under the rod,” i.e., the Shepherd’s rod. God will SEPARATE the true remnant of Israel (i.e., saved Jews) from counterfeit Jews (i.e., unsaved Jews). No unsaved Jew will ever enter the Promised Land, which God promised to Abraham and his seed in Genesis 17:8. Consider yourself forewarned that this promise only applies to those who are BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIANS… “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). All Jews who follow the Christ-rejecting religion of JUDAISM will be cast in to Hellfire.
To clarify, the Tribulation Period will be a time when God pours out His wrath upon mankind for his wickedness; but the PRIMARY purpose of the Tribulation Period is to prepare Israel to receive her King, Jesus Christ. This is not Zionism, which is a false doctrine. Zionism is the same sin that Abraham and Sara committed when they doubted God in their impatience and took matters into their own hands (i.e., concerning the promise of a son, Isaac).
Likewise, some elite Jews today (i.e., the synagogue of Satan – Revelation 2:9), occultists and Judaizers, have taken it upon themselves to FORCE the issue of restoring the Promised Land. God isnot part of this. The Star of David is not found in the Bible and is an occult symbol. Zionism glorifies the Jews, while demonizing the Arabs. This is unbiblical, as God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Keep in mind that the Arabs are ALSO descendants of Abraham. We should not discriminate. Jews are NO better than anyone else. This is not being anti-Semitic; rather, it is being just.
Daniel 12:1 states concerning the Great Tribulation…
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
Only those Jews who are true believers in Christ, who have their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, will be delivered from the horrors of God’s wrath. In order for The Time of Jacob’s Trouble to occur, the Antichrist needs to be present, which means the Church must be gone from the world. By the way, the only thing preventing America from total immediate destruction are it’s Christian families, because we are fighting against the Devil’s crowd. The Antichrist’s hands will be tied with millions of Christians still in the world.
The Church Must be Removed from the World Before the Tribulation!
Thus, having laid the foundation, let me say that the Church (i.e., all believers) MUST be removed from the world before any of this can happen. 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-10 clearly tells us that the Antichrist (man of sin) cannot be revealed on earth until the Church is removed from the world. 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-9 state… “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, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” It’s as obvious as can be to any genuine believer, who is familiar with the Word of God, who “He” in verse 7 is referring to… the Holy Spirit of God! Jesus said in John 16:8 concerning the Holy Spirit… “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
Where does the Word of God say that the Holy Spirit lives? 1st Corinthians 3:16 says… “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Are you starting to get the picture? The Antichrist doesn’t stand a chance with Christians in the world, because we will EXPOSE him, just as we do other servants of Satan (such as the Clinton and Bush Families). Wake up oh Christian! The Devil is at your front door!
2nd Thessalonians 2:7 is incontrovertible PROOF that the Rapture must precede the Tribulation! There can be NO other Person for “He” than the Holy Spirit. Also, the events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ are irreconcilably different with the events concerning the Rapture–solid PROOF that the Bible teaches a Pretribulation Rapture! Some ignorant people today are claiming that the Rapture doctrine didn’t exist until recent centuries. That is absurd! We are reading the exact same Words of God today which the Apostle Paul penned nearly 2,000 years ago! It’s not a question of history, but of faith in the precious Words of God.