As Christians, we believe that the Holy Bible is God’s perfect Word and that it is a testimony to Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is God’s rule over the universe and also over humans who willfully acknowledge him as King. One day his Kingdom will come to earth, which the Bible describes as the personal and visible return of Jesus. This day is known as the Second Coming, the time when Jesus will establish his rule on the throne of David in Jerusalem.
Many Christians also believe that before the Second Coming there will be a dark seven year period called the Tribulation. They believe that in order to rescue his Bride from the horrors of the Tribulation, Jesus will gather all true believers to him. This is known as the futurist, pre-tribulation Rapture view. This view acknowledges God the Father’s sovereignty over the timing of the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming.
Our goal is to give you a clear understanding of the Rapture, so that you are prepared!
He who testifies to these things says, Surely I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelations 22:20)
Jewish wedding ceremony – This ceremony is the theme and model of the Rapture, and determines the sequence of events. The Jewish wedding is a type and shadow of the return of Christ Jesus, the Messiah, for His Bride (the Church).
Jewish wedding event / Jesus and Church
* Groom pays a Bride price (Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross).
* Bride prepares herself (wears white robe representing righteous deeds)
* Groom gives gifts to His chosen Bride (gifts of the Spirit)
* Groom prepares a place for the Bride and himself (New Jerusalem)
* Father tells the son when to get his Bride (God the Father has an appointed time)
* Groom comes with others at midnight with a shout! (the Rapture of the Church)
* Groom takes Bride to private chambers for 7 days (the 7 Tribulation years)
* Groom and Bride share a marriage feast (the marriage supper of the Lamb)
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Matthew chapter 24 and Revelations chapter 6 – Next, we will compare the two most important chapters in the Bible relating to the Tribulation, side by side.
* This describes when the Antichrist and his prophet comes into the world to offer a false peace and to conquer:
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)
And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Revelation 6:2)
* These scriptures outline a period of great war:
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (Matthew 24:6)
Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:4)
* In this time period, there will be a deadly famine leading to massive death:
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:5-8)
* Now a period of widespread persecution of Christians will occur:
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9)
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. (Revelation 6:9)
These scriptures outline the actions of the Antichrist as he reveals his true nature:
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15-16)
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:5-8)
Notice that the two most important chapters in the Bible relating to the Tribulation agree completely on this sequence of events: the Antichrist coming into the world to conquer, a great war, a deadly famine leading to massive death, widespread persecution of Christians, and the Antichrist finally revealing his true nature with people worshiping him as God. We believe that before this 7 year Tribulation period the true Christian believer will be Raptured. Why?
Jesus described it this way:
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 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. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)
In both of His examples, the righteous people were saved first, then came swift destruction for the wicked. There was no apparent warning.
That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. (Matthew 24:39-41)
In other words, the Rapture will come as a complete surprise, and during normal activities. It will come before the Tribulation!
For those who think that the end is far off, here is a word from Peter:
First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” They willfully ignore this: Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought about from water and through water by the word of God. Through these waters the world of that time perished when it was flooded. But by the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3)