As one would expect, Satan will try to confuse the Biblical teaching of the Rapture to deprive the Lord’s people of confidence in the last days.
A Gap Between the Rapture and the Tribulation?
Some have taught that there will be a gap between the Rapture and the Great Tribulation but this is totally without scriptural support. Why they teach this is hard to comprehend. There is no reason to do so unless they feel that more time is required for prophesied events to occur, but as we approach the end of the age events are speeding up. Global changes can happen overnight.
The Russian/Islamic Invasion Before the Tribulation?
Some teachers have placed the Russian/Islamic invasion of Israel before the Rapture but this cannot be the case since all Israel turns to the Lord when the land is invaded. We read
So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them (Ezekiel 39:22-23).
Paul made it clear that the “fulness of the Gentiles” must come in before “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:25-26) so the Russian invasion can only occur after the rapture of the Church.
The Rapture at the End of the Tribulation?
Those who have adopted Replacement Theology and totally removed Israel from God’s plan for the last days, teach that only the Church will be on earth when Christ returns and therefore both the living and dead saints will be resurrected in a General resurrection. Thus they have the Rapture at the end of the Tribulation. But Jeremiah wrote:
Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob… for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them (Jeremiah 33:25-26).
The Rapture After the Trumpet Judgments?
The most recent and most confusing theory about the Rapture is called the Pre-wrath Rapture which teaches that the first half of the Tribulation is the wrath of man and only the second half of the Tribulation is the wrath of God. So when Paul wrote that “God hath not appointed us to wrath” it only meant that we would escape the second half of the Tribulation.
Those who hold this view are sadly ignorant of the chronology of the Tribulation and ignore the plain staements of scripture.
The Russian/Islamic invasion must occur after the Rapture and will be used of God to bring all Israel to repentance. Two-thirds of the nation will perish in this awful holocaust (Zechariah 13:9).
We know that half-way through the Tribulation, Israel is a saved nation because the “remnant of her seed” will be keeping “the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). Therefore we have to place the Russian invasion in the first half of the Tribulation, Ezekiel specifically states that at that time, the invaders are not destroyed by Israel but by God Himself. He states that,
At the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel…and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down…And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother (Ezekiel 38:18-22).
This event results in a global earthquake, the sun being darkened and great hailstones from heaven, and fits perfectly into the 6th Seal judgment (Revelation 6:12-17) when the mighty men of the earth will hide in the rocks of the mountains and say to the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from ..the wrath of the Lamb.” To say that there is no wrath from God in the first half of the Tribulation is absurd.
In the first half of the seven years God’s wrath is poured out on the Russian/Islamic armies and in the second half God’s wrath is poured out on Antichrist (the Beast) and his armies. Israel turns to Christ in the first half and is delivered from the Beast in the second half. On both occasions there will be a global earthquake and hailstones (meteorites) raining down on earth for in both cases God will come to the aid of His people Israel (Revelation 6:12-13; Matthew 24:29).
Just as God sent hailstones on the enemies of Israel in Joshua’s day and the sun and moon stood still “about a whole day”(Joshua 10:11-14), so God will intervene for Israel in the last days.
During the Tribulation the Lord will fight for Israel (Zechariah 14:3; 12:9). On both occasions God’s wrath will be revealed and the Church will not be here to see it. Read the Book of Revelation from Chapter 6 to Chapter 18 where the Tribulation is described, and you will fail to find one reference to the Church on earth. But you will find Jews, Jerusalem, the Temple and Israel mentioned in Chapters 7, 11, 12 and 14.
Israel takes centre stage immediately after the Rapture and two Jewish witnesses testify at Jerusalem for 1,260 days before being martyred at the mid-point of the Tribulation. Also, 144,000 Jewish men are save when the Church is removed and are seen before the throne in heaven half-way through the Tribulation. For the first half of the Tribulation these Jews preach the “Gospel of the Kingdom in all the world for a witness to all nations and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14), they are the “firstfruits unto God” (Revelation 14:4) of Israel. Their testimony will be brief as Jesus indicated in Matthew 10:23.
Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come (Matthew 10:23).
The Pre-wrath Rapture Theory is essentially an attempt to rearrange the chronology of end-time events but its proponents have shown a lack of understanding of the sequence of events during the Tribulation. There are several modified Pre-wrath Rapture theories beginning with one published by Marvin Rosenthal in 1992 and another more recent one by Kent Hovind who wrote his book while he was in gaol in the USA for taxation fraud.
When John wrote that men will cry out that “the day of His wrath is come,” Pre-wrath theorists interpret “is come” as “is about to come” but the Greek verb is Aorist Active Indicative which is the simple past tense in English and could better be translated “has come” thus indicating that the Seal Judgments are the wrath of God from which the Church has been spared by Divine appointment.
Are You Ready for the Rapture?
The Rapture will occur immediately before the Tribulation and will be sudden, secret and selective so far as the world is concerned. The Bible says:
We shall not all sleep (die), 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 (1 Corinthians 5:51-53).
Christians will suddenly disappear. Jesus said, “One shall be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36). The question is, Will you be taken or left for the Tribulation?
God gives every person an opportunity to be saved. Christ died for the sins of the whole world and “now is the accepted time behold, now is the day of salvation.” If any person is left behind at the Rapture it is because they have not received the free gift of eternal life. There is only one way to be ready for the Rapture and it is to turn from sin to Jesus Christ who came from heaven the first time to die a substitutionary death, bearing the full guilt of our sin. His precious blood was shed to make atonement for sin and when we call on the Lord to save us, God keeps His Word.
Salvation is not just reformation. Salvation is a free gift from God when a sinner seeks the Lord with all his or her heart. When God saves us He promises to keep us. Eternal life is for ever. “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). The Bible says:
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works”(Ephesians 2:8-10).
Dear friend, you can be saved at this moment. Why not call on the Lord and admit you are a sinner; thank Him for sending Jesus to die for your sins and ask Him to save by His grace. Read God’s promise and thank Him for saving you. Then you can live for God: Pray and read the Bible daily and tell others you have trusted Christ. Seek the fellowship of other Bible-believing Christians and God will change your life. When the Rapture comes you will be caught up to be forever with the Lord.