A Help for Kent Crockett

On the Timing of the Raptures

 

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Originally Posted by by Kent Crockett
Evidence For A PreTribulation Rapture

Let me first say that our fellowship as Christians is not based upon the timing of the rapture, but upon the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Some have accused those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture as "escapists," trying to avoid all trouble or persecution. On the contrary, the Church always has been and always will be persecuted as long as we are in the world, but this is not the same as the wrath of God poured out during the Tribulation. We believe the rapture occurs before the Tribulation because scriptures overwhelmingly support a pre-tribulation rapture, as opposed to the a-millennial, post-millennial, and post-tribulation theories.
I believe you are wrong because the Bible does not support this view at all. In fact, the negative consequence of your view is that when you are in the Tribulation, you won't realize it, because you assumed you would have been raptured if it was. And, you will even accuse the brethren raptured at the first rapture who were received first according to readiness. Fellowship therefore is not only based on the finished work of the cross but the timing of rapture as well, for the finished work of the cross leads us to believe there are advanced parties and harbingers in every sphere. The parousia of Christ is no exception.
 
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The following is a look at 16 scriptural evidence that indicate the rapture will be Pre-Tribulation. ("Pre-tribulation" rapture means Jesus will gather those who believe in Him together in heaven before the Seven Year Tribulation starts.)

Evidence #1: Revelation 19:11-21 doesn't mention a resurrection

The rapture is a resurrection of those "in Christ" (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Isn't it a little bit odd that in Rev. 19:11-21, which is the clearest picture of the second coming of Christ, there is no mention of a resurrection? The rapture will be the biggest event since the resurrection of Jesus where hundreds of millions of Christians will be resurrected and translated, yet there isn't any mention here. Don't you think it deserves at least one verse? The rapture isn't mentioned because it doesn't happen at the second coming.
The reason there is no rapture or resurrection mentioned at Rev. 19.11-21 is because Christ has returned, whence the saints at the first rapture and the last trumpet have already been raptured. That is why we read, "And the armies which are in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white [and] pure" (Rev. 19.14). Jesus returns with His saints in Rev. 19, because they had already been raptured.

Evidence #1 is a misreading of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #2: Zechariah 14:1-15 doesn't mention a resurrection

This is an Old Testament picture of Jesus returning to earth at the second coming. Again, no mention of a resurrection.
Why does the resurrection have to be mentioned at the split second of Christ stepping down on the mount of olives? It would not make sense for the resurrections and raptures to happen at this point but some point before, both at first rapture and the harvest rapture (Rev. 14.14-16). Note that the final harvest rapture happens at the start of the last trumpet, but before the bowls commence. The bowls are poured in the last trumpet which takes 24 months. If you don't know how the 24 is derived please ask.

Evidence #2 is a misreading of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #3: Two different pictures are painted

In the Old Testament, there were two different pictures painted of the Messiah—one suffering (Isa. 53:2-10, Ps. 22:6-8, 11-18) and one reigning as King (Ps. 2:6-12, Zech. 14:9,16). As we look back on these scriptures, we see they predicted two separate comings of the Messiah—the 1st coming as a suffering Messiah and the 2nd coming (still future) as a reigning King.

In the New Testament, we have another picture added. Again, we have two pictures painted which don’t look the same. These two different descriptions of Jesus’ coming point to two separate events we call "the rapture" and "the second coming."
Wouldn't it be more accurately stated the two different events towards the second coming of Christ (parousia) over the 7 years are the first rapture and the last trumpet rapture? Those who overcometh, like Christ, who suffered, are ready to be received at the first rapture, whereas not all those raptured at the last trumpet will receive the reward of reigning in the 1000 years.

Evidence #3 is a misreading of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #4: The Known Day and the Unknown Day

Concerning the return of Jesus, the Bible presents a day we can't know and a day we can know. Matthew 25:13 says Jesus will return at an unknown time, while Revelation 12:6 says the Jews will have to wait 1,260 days for the Lord to return. The 1,260 days begins when the Antichrist stands in the Temple and declares himself to be God (Matt. 24:15-21, 2 Thess. 2:4) This event will take place at the mid-point of the seven year Tribulation (Dan 9:27). The Antichrist has authority to rule for 42 months, which is 1,260 days (Rev. 13:4) and will be destroyed by Jesus at His second coming (Rev. 19:20, 2 Thess. 2:8). The known and unknown days must happen at different times, meaning they are two separate events.
That we do not know when the first rapture will occur because Jesus comes like a thief in the night is certainly true, but why does knowing the day of Christ's return once the Great Tribulation has started prevent a last trumpet harvest resurrection and rapture of the saints?

Evidence #4 is a misreading of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #5: A door open in heaven (Revelation 4:1)

The door in heaven is opened to let John into heaven. We believe John's call into heaven is prophetic of the church being caught up at the rapture (see proof #6). In Revelation 19:11, heaven is opened again, this time to let the armies which are already in heaven out. This is the Church, which has been raptured at a previous time, following Jesus out of heaven at the second coming.
Rapture cannot take place at Rev. 4.1 (see my response to Evidence #6). That the saints return with Christ in Rev. 19 does not prevent a rapture at the last trumpet which commences 24 months before Christ appears in Person.

Evidence #5 is overassuming and a misreading of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.

 
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Evidence #6: "Come up here." (Revelation 4:1)

A voice called for the apostle John to "Come up here," and immediately he was in heaven. This could be a prophetic reference to the rapture of the Church. The words "Come up here" are spoken to the two witnesses who are killed in the middle of the Tribulation, who are resurrected and ascend into heaven (Rev. 11:12). Therefore, the phrase "Come up here" could mean the church is raptured in Rev. 4:1. The word "church" is mentioned 22 times in Rev. 1-3, but is not mentioned again until Rev. 22:17.
This is called the argument from silence. However we cannot say there is no mention of the saints until Rev. 22: "didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation" (5.10), “the saints” (17.6), and "the armies which are in heaven" (19.14). Unquestionably the word “church” is not used, but who can say that those in view in the above examples do not belong to the church? Furthermore, “the things which must shortly come to pass” (including the Great Tribulation) are shown to “his servants” (22.6), and “these things” (including the Great Tribulation) are testified “for the churches” (22.16). These things will not be written if they are not relevant to the church and to the believers.

There is some problems with saying chapters 4 & 5 are yet to be fulfilled if the church is raptured at 4.1.

1) 4.1 speaks of being raptured in the Spirit, not a bodily rapture: "Straightway I was in the Spirit" (v.2). How can chapters 2 & 3 speak of the church and there not be a clear word given of her rapture afterward?

2) Should not the church be seen in chapters 4 & 5 if it was raptured before the Tribulation? Since the elders in 4.4,10 and 5.8 cannot represent the church (see my response to Evidence #7). How can the elders, if they were the church, not be mentioned from 19.5 through to chapters 22? Is it possible the members of the church will not exist in the new heavens and new earth? How can she just disappear in the end?

3) Since chapter 5 shows the glory which the Lamb receives in heaven, can we say He must wait 2000 years before He will receive His glory?

4) The praise which He receives in 5.13 agrees with Phil. 2.10. He receives the name which is above all names due to His resurrection and ascension as described in Phil. 2.9. How can Rev. 5.13 describe a scene 2000 years later?

5) Why should the new song in 5.9 be sung 2000 years later? Has not the work of redemption already been done? Why cannot the new song be sung at once?

6) "As though it had been slain" (5.6) is, in the original, rendered "as though it had been newly slain". This clearly proves that this scene is the ascension of the Lord. The death of the Lord is forever fresh so as to be newly slain.

7) 4.8 records the four living creatures as saying: "The Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come"-Compare this with 11.17, where the 24 elders are found worshiping God and saying: "O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast"; in the latter instance the words "who was to come" are not said, thus intimating that he return of the Lord cannot be before 4.8 but after 4.8.

8. In 5.6 the seven Spirits of God are "sent forth into all the earth"-Many we not ask, then, what the Holy Spirit will be doing in the Great Tribulation as He is sent out into all the earth? We know that the Holy Spirit comes down after the ascension of the Lord Jesus. It is during the dispensation of the church that He is sent out by the Lord.

In view of these eight points we may conclude that chapter 4 depicts the scene of the daily presence of God, which is the natural situation in heaven; while chapter 5 speaks of the Lord's ascension, for in it we are told of "a Lamb standing, as though it had been newly slain" (5.6). This is repeated for John's benefit-"After these things [of being shown the church age in Rev. 2 & 3 and the call to overcometh]...a door opened in heaven" (4.1). This, therefore, is not a continuation of the seven church periods, but a sequel to the vision given in chapter 1-3.

"Come up hither" is spoken to John personally; it should not be interpreted as a type of the rapture of the church.

Evidence #6 is a misreading of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #7: The 24 elders have their crowns

After John is called up into heaven, he sees the 24 elders with their crowns (Rev. 4:4-10). We know that Christians will receive their rewards (crowns) at the rapture (2 Tim. 4:8, 1 Pet. 5:4). We will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:14). The elders couldn't receive their crowns unless the resurrection (rapture) has taken place.
Rev. 3.10 needs to be explained for a condition is given for the first rapture. As well, there are ten other reasons why the 24 elders do not represent the glorious church.

1) Elder is never the name of the church. It would be like saying the whole church is made up of elders.

2) The number of the elders is not the number of the church. The church number is seven or multiples of seven, but 24 is not a multiple.

3) The church cannot have the throne and the crown before Jesus has His. The one who sits on the throne in 4.2 is God the Father (the Lamb is still standing, according to 5.6). The 24 elders are sitting on the thrones, and they all wear crowns of gold as described in 4.4. How can the church be sitting when the Lord Jesus is still standing? Jesus will not be King in the millennium till chapter 20. After 19.4 there is no more trace of the elders. What happened to this glorious church afterward and why would they still be mentioned at 19.4 if the church does not pass through the Tribulation?

(Please ask for the other 7 reasons-I assure you they are most wonderful reasons).

Evidence #7 is a misreading of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #8 Holy ones are already with Jesus in heaven (Zech. 14:5, Rev. 19:14)

The armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, follow Jesus out of heaven at His second coming (Rev. 19:14, Zech. 14:5, Col. 3:4). These are not angels because Rev. 19:8 tells us the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. In order to come out of heaven we first have to go in, indicating a previous rapture.
Yes, Christ returns with His saints. How does this prevent a rapture at the last trumpet? (This point has been repeated several times).

Evidence #8 is an overassuming of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #9: Kept from the hour of testing (Rev. 3:10)

Revelation 3:10 says we will be kept out of the hour of testing which will come upon the whole earth (the Tribulation). Some have wrongly believed "keep" means to keep through, or protect through the Tribulation. Suppose you approach a high voltage area with a sign that says, "Keep Out." Does that mean you can enter and be protected? No, it means you are forbidden from entering the area. But this verse also says He will keep us from the hour of testing. It is not just the testing, but the time period. If a student is excused from a test, he still may have to sit in the class while others take the test. But if he is excused from the hour of testing, he can go home. The Church will be called home before the hour of testing.
Yes, everything said here is true, but you fail to read the whole verse which indicates a condition for first rapture.

"Because thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that [hour] which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3.10).

What is the condition? To "keep the word of my patience". Do all Christians do this? No. Therefore, first rapture is for the church, but according to readiness, so that not all believers who are saved at the time of first rapture will be kept out.

What is meant by “the word of my patience”? Today people revile Him and curse Him, but the Lord neither punishes them nor smites them with lightning and thunder. Such is the patience of Christ in this age. Today we are patient together with Christ. We do not resist. But does every Christian keep the word of His patience in this manner? If so, the whole church would indeed be raptured. If this verse can be used indiscriminately to prove the rapture of the whole church before the Great Tribulation, then people can with equal justification forget the condition “whosoever believeth on him” and erroneously claim that all men are saved. Furthermore, the promise of the Lord here is addressed to the church in Philadelphia, not to the whole church. If the church in Philadelphia can represent the whole church, then we may surmise that the entire church will be raptured before the Great Tribulation. Yet at that time there were actually these seven churches in Asia Minor, and the promise of the Lord was given to but one of these seven. Accordingly, the church in Philadelphia cannot represent the complete church; or else the overcomers in the other six churches mentioned will not be raptured.

Evidence #9 is an overlooking of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #10: Angels don't resurrect people when they gather them for judgment

When the angels are sent forth to gather the elect at the second coming (Matt. 24:29-31), some have wrongly interpreted this as the rapture. There is one huge problem with this interpretation. If we are resurrected at this time, why would we need angels to gather us? In the resurrection, we will be like the angels (Matt. 22:30), able to travel in the air at will. Obviously, these people who are gathered are not resurrected, therefore it can't be the rapture. No one would claim the wicked are raptured at this time, yet Matthew 13:39-41) says the angels will not only gather the elect, but also the wicked. This gathering is not a resurrection.
Yes, this is not a resurrection, but a gathering of the Israelites back to Israel; but that being the case, how does this disallow a rapture at the last trumpet, for does not Matt. 24.40-41 says there are those taken at the first rapture and other Christians left to be raptured later (at the last trumpet)? Since both the taken and the left are Christians, then there would be two raptures of the church. So like Rev. 3.10, one would need to be watchful and prayerful to be received at the first rapture, otherwise shall be raptured at the last trumpet.

Evidence #10 is arguing a point that does not help itself to misread God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #11: Both wicked and righteous both can't be taken first

First Thessalonians 4:13-17 says the righteous are taken and the wicked are left behind. Matthew 13:30, 49 says the wicked are taken first and righteous are left behind. This points to two separate events, the rapture and the second coming.
The "left" are those who are saved, because they were not first "taken" (Matt. 24.40-41) at the first rapture. The left are raptured at the last harvest because they are still "alive" from the martyrdom of the Tribulation. Their rapture will precede the rapture of the unsaved by a thousand years. This points to three separate events: first rapture, harvest rapture and the second coming or appearing of the Lord in Person on the mount of olives (Zech. 14.4).

Evidence #11 is an argument that does not help its view and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #12: Jesus returns from the wedding

When Jesus returns to earth at the second coming, He will return from a wedding (Luke 12:36). At the rapture, Jesus is married to His bride, the Church. After the wedding, He will return to earth.
Why can't Jesus be married to His bride at the first rapture and last trumpet rapture which the latter precedes the return of Christ by 24 months?

Evidence #12 is an argument that does not help its view and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #13: Jesus will receive us to Himself, not us to receive Him (John 14:2-3)

Jesus said He would prepare a place for the Church in heaven, then He would come again to receive us to Himself. Why would Jesus prepare a place for us in heaven and then not take us there? At the rapture, He will come to receive us to Himself, "that where I am (heaven), there you may be also." If the rapture occurred at the same time as the second coming, we would go up to the clouds and then immediately come back to earth. That would contradict John 14:2-3.
Since this is not the case and will not happen since the first trumpet rapture takes places 42 months before Christ appears and the last trumpet resurrection and rapture takes place 24 months before Christ appears, then there is no problem.

Evidence #13 is an overlooking of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #14: The one who restrains is taken out of the way

In 2 Thess. 2:6-7, Paul says "the one who restrains will be taken out of the way" before the Antichrist can be revealed. We believe this refers to the rapture because the Holy Spirit who lives within the Church is clearly the biggest obstacle to the Antichrist becoming a world ruler.
One who restraineth is no proper terminology for the Holy Spirit. The Third Person of the Trinity has many different names, such as the Spirit, the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of revelation, etc; and the word “Spirit” is usually present - and even though in one instance the word “Comforter” is used alone, yet from the next clause which follows (“even the Spirit of truth”) it is evident that this has clear reference to the Holy Spirit (John 14.16-17). Never do the Scriptures say the Holy Spirit is “he that restrains”; moreover, how can the Holy Spirit be said to “be taken out of the way”? The Spirit still works in the spirit of believers in the Tribulation. Furthermore, where does the Bible announce that the Holy Spirit is absent during the Great Tribulation? And how can there be the so-called believers of the Great Tribulation if the Holy Spirit is not present? For no one is saved without the Holy Spirit, He who is born of the Spirit is spirit. Moreover, this matter of the Holy Spirit’s presence during the Great Tribulation is clearly shown in Revelation 5: “and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth” (v.6). The time of the Great Tribulation is the time of the latter rain (see Acts 2.15-21, Joel 2.28-31). The prophecy of Joel was not completely fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. For on that day there were no “wonders in the heaven and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke”; nor was “the sun . . . turned into darkness, and the moon into blood” (Joel 2.30-31). All of these five wonders will be fulfilled around and in the time of the Great Tribulation: blood (first trumpet), fire (first and second trumpets), smoke (fifth trumpet), sun and moon (sixth seal). Pentecost is only a miniature, a foretaste. Peter does not say: “It is fulfilled”; he merely says that “this is that” (Acts 2.16). As a matter of fact, the Holy Spirit is going to do greater work during the time of the Great Tribulation. If there will not be the Holy Spirit present, how can the saints ever endure during the Great Tribulation?

Evidence #14 is a misreading of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #15: The separation of the sheep and goats (Matt. 25:31-46)

If the rapture occurred at the second coming, why would the sheep and the goats need to be separated immediately after the second coming? With a Pre-Tribulation rapture, the people saved after the rapture will need to be separated after the second coming.
The sheep here refers to the good nations and the goats to the evil nations and peoples. It is not referring to the saved and unsaved. Don't the nations have to be resolved when Christ returns? Who in this parable are the ones to be judged? It tells us that it is to be “all the nations” (v.32). This word “nations” is the same as is translated “the Gentiles” in Matthew 4.15; 6.32; 10.5,18; 12.18; and 20.19,25. It is a Greek word which in its meaning includes all the Gentiles.

If you can't see this, please ask for the proof, and I can supply you with seven other reasons why this is the case.

Evidence #15 is a misreading of God's Word and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.
 
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Evidence #16: Who will populate the Millennium?

If the rapture occurs at the second coming and the wicked are cast into hell at that time, who will be left to populate the millennium? Only people in their natural (non-resurrected) bodies will be able to have children (Matt. 22:30). With a Pre-Tribulation rapture, the people saved after the rapture who are alive at the second coming will populate the earth during the Millennium.
Yet, this is not a valid argument for pretribulation rapture onlyism, since those populating earth when Christ returns can still include the nations that remain after the last harvest rapture.

Evidence #16 is an overlooking of some key facts and cannot be admitted as a worthy consideration.