The Rapture Question Answered, Part 8

Mr. John Little sent me a most interesting email letter written against the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view. That was last April 28, 2012. I have already written seven previous installments in answer to that letter.

It almost always takes more words to answer a mistaken position than it takes to express a mistaken position. That is true this time too.

John Little said in that letter:

True Biblical Proof

So, let me bring you back to where we started, the Bible. I showed you that there are three things that MUST happen before the Rapture, and there is no way that you can get around these proofs. Here are those three things that must come BEFORE THE RAPTURE:

The Antichrist

The Resurrection

The Tribulation

There will be no Rapture until after those three things. Period.

Again, here is what Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:

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; 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. – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

This means that the Antichrist MUST come before the Rapture.

Of course, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4 means no such thing at all! That is the error or heresy Paul wrote to correct! The Rapture is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 by the expression “by our gathering unto Him.” We who truly believe in Christ if we are alive in the flesh on this earth when Christ comes for us at the Rapture will then “be gathered unto Him” at that time, BEFORE the great apostasy, and BEFORE the appearance of the Antichrist, and so before the Day of the Lord, thus most certainly before the Great Tribulation, when Christ comes for us. That is the point of Paul’s argument in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, an argument Mr. John Little has failed to properly follow.

Mr. John Little next states (on what is page 8 of my saved copy of his letter):

Then, Paul says this here in chapter 4:

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. – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

(See also: 1st Corinthians 15:51-53)

There are only two resurrections (John 5:29, Revelation 20, etc.), and the Resurrection of the Just MUST come BEFORE the Rapture.

Mr. Little is correct that there are only two resurrections. They might well be called “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5) and for convenience, “the second resurrection,” or the resurrection of the unsaved or the lost. Jesus tells us about these two resurrections at John 5:29. But Jesus does not explain at John 5:29 that there will be an intervening 1000 years between these two resurrections. But that is explained by John in the Book of Revelation, Revelation 20:5. The truth of a long time span between these two resurrections was revealed back as far as the prophet Isaiah, who writes of this in the “Little Apocalypse,” a title given by some prophetic scholars to Isaiah chapter 24. Isaiah tells of this time delay while the wicked are in confinement in Isaiah 24:21, 22, where Isaiah writes in part that “they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.” John in Revelation 20:5 supplies the newly revealed detail that this “many days” is 1000 years.

What Mr. John Little has failed to understand is that the “first resurrection” has a number of separate components, such that it consists of at least four parts which take place at different times, but always involve the righteous: (1) Christ the firstfruits, 1 Corinthians 15:23; (2) The resurrection of saints or believers of this church age at the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16; (3) The resurrection of the saints saved during the Great Tribulation period after the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Revelation 20:3-5; together with (4) The resurrection of the Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 26:19). Isaiah 26:20 places the resurrection of Isaiah 26:19 at the time after the indignation is past. The “indignation” is the day of wrath, the Great Tribulation. These four components constitute the First Resurrection. So while “there is only one resurrection for those who are God’s people,” that one resurrection, the “first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5) has the indicated four separate components which take place at different times.

The idea that the Resurrection of the Just MUST come BEFORE the Rapture represents a misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches. The resurrection of the Just comes BEFORE the resurrection of the Wicked. The resurrection of the Just, that portion counted as being “in Christ,” spoken of as “the dead in Christ,” takes place at the Pretribulation Rapture, according to Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.

Mr. John Little claims in his letter that

Jesus spoke about the Rapture in Matthew 24:27-28 and then hammers the point home:

Now THAT is surely and clearly a misapplication of Scripture. In the first place, there is no mention of the Rapture of the Church in Matthew chapter 24. The truth of the Rapture is a “mystery doctrine” (so labeled by Paul himself) that was first revealed to Paul by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, so it surely was not revealed in Matthew 24!

But look at the text of Matthew 24:27-28 yourself:

Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

I wonder just who Mr. John Little supposes “the carcase is”? It surely does not pertain to Christians or the Church, but to the enemies who have been literally destroyed upon whose bodies the eagles or vultures feast.

This “coming of the Son of man” is the culminating moment of the Second Advent during and at which “every eye shall see Him” (Revelation 1:7), and takes place NOT when Christ comes FOR His saints at the Rapture, but when He comes in victory over His enemies WITH His saints (Zechariah 14:5) in His very visible and public return to this earth where He will reign on the Throne of David not for 1000 years but forever (Luke 1:32, 33) from Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:23) over the whole world (Zechariah 14:9).

So, careful attention to Scripture demonstrates Jesus did not speak of the Rapture at all in Matthew 24:27-28.

Note carefully the cross references for Matthew 24:28,

Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

28. For. FS74, +Jg 5:31. wheresoever. FS184C, +Mt 4:9. +*Dt 28:49. Jb 39:27-30. Je 16:16. Ho 8:1. Am 9:1-4. Hab 1:8. *Lk 17:37. the carcase. **1 S 17:46. +*Is 66:24. **Ezk 39:4, 11-16. Mk 6:29. +**#Lk 17:37n. the eagles. or, vultures. Le 11:13. +*Dt 28:49. **1 S 17:44, 46. Lam 4:19. Ezk 17:3. Dan 7:4. Ho 8:1. Hab 1:8. Zc 5:9. +**Lk 17:37n. Jn 11:48. be gathered. Jb 39:30. Pr 30:17. **Ezk 39:17, 18. Ho 8:1. *Re 19:17, 18.

Here are the cross references and an accompanying note for the parallel passage from Luke 17:37,

Luke 17:36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Luke 17:37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

37. Wheresoever. FS138C, +Ge 22:14. Lk 21:35. Jb 39:29, 30. +**Is 66:24. Ezk 39:4, 5, 11, 12-18. +*Da 9:26, 27. Joel 3:2, 9-16. Am 9:1-4. +*Zp 3:8. Zec 13:8, 9. 14:2. Mt 24:28. x Jn 11:48. Ro 2:8, 9, 16. 1 Th 2:16. *Re 16:14-16. 19:17-21. the body. Note: The word σωμα here must signify the same as πτωμα, a dead carcase, in Mt 24:28, by which is intended the Jewish nation, which was morally and judicially dead, doomed to be devoured by the Roman armies, called eagles, partly from their strength and fierceness, and partly from their military ensigns, which were gold or silver eagles. The Roman fury pursued these wretched men wherever they were found: see the horrible account in Josephus, Bel. l. vii. c. 2, 6, 9-11. **Ezk 39:11-15. **Da 7:11. +*#Mt 24:28. Re 19:18. Whatever interpretation and application is made here of the term “body,” must consistently apply equally to the term “carcass” used in +*#Mt 24:28. To suggest the body is that of Christ, or believers, or the nation Israel, does not harmonize with Scripture. Rather, suggesting that “body” and “carcass” refer to the defeated armies gathered against Jerusalem at the end of the tribulation described in Ezk 39:17-21, seems to fit precisely, and is no doubt the event Christ is alluding to, reinforced by the mention of “eagles” directly in this connection, for the “feathered fowl” are invited to feast upon the carnage after that great battle (Ezk 39:17). To suggest that eagles here represent the Romans is not supported by the context, for the Romans are not otherwise alluded to in this passage, and the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 is not the subject of this prophecy, for here these events take place at the second advent, when “the Son of man shall be revealed” (ver. 30). Neither is it necessary to regard the eagles as being angels, nor is it necessary to suggest that they are the saints (the position taken by Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 320). They are literal eagles, birds of prey, gathered to feast literally upon the dead bodies left after the great battle of Ezk 39:4-6. Peters sees here the translation or rapture of the saints, which my notes (on ver. 34 and Mt 24:41) conclusively show to be a mistaken view. Peters further errs here when he takes the question “Where, Lord” to mean “i.e. when shall this be witnessed or made known” (vol. 2, p. 320, 321). But the question is not when, but where, and Peters’ next statement that “the evidence of such a removal will be openly shown when these very ones shall be gathered together at the overthrow of Antichrist” (p. 321), citing Zc 14, Re 19, Joel 3, in “his efforts to crush the Jews at Jerusalem,” in a “mighty confederation against the truth” (Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 105), is correct in placing these events at Jerusalem, but incorrect in taking this to be the translation of the saints. “In comparing prophecy it is distinctly announced that he shall unite nations and armies into an expedition into Palestine and a siege against Jerusalem, Dan 11, last part and 12:1; Is 14:24-27; Joel 3; Zc 14; Re 14:20; Re 16:16; Ezk 38:8-19, and that he is to be destroyed by a revelation of Christ in Palestine, Ezk 38:21-23; 2 Th 2:8; Re 19:11-20, etc.” (Peters, vol. 2, p. 105). This passage therefore answers the question where, not when, for Christ already informed them as to when these events would take place (ver. 30, at his advent). The eagles are not the saints, and there is not a reference here to the rapture or translation of the saints, for the rapture or translation of the saints logically must be prior to Christ’s revelation in power and glory with his saints (+*Ps 149:5-9. +*Zc 14:5). Ezk 39:11-15. Da 7:11. +Mt 24:28. Re 19:18. the eagles. or, vultures. Ge 40:17-19. %Dt 28:49. *Jb 39:27-30. Pr 30:17. Is 18:6. %+*Is 40:31. Je 16:4. **Ezk 39:17-21. %Ho 8:1. Hab 1:8. +*#Mt 24:28. %Re 4:7. *Re 19:17-21. be gathered together. **1 S 17:44, 46. **Ezk 39:4, 17.

Mr. John Little concludes his letter as follows:

Jesus spoke about the Rapture in Matthew 24:27-28 and then hammers the point home:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. – Matthew 24:29-31

(See also Mark 13:24-27)

This is Jesus, our Lord and Savior telling us that the Rapture MUST HAPPEN AFTER THE TRIBULATION!

Please, did you get that?

The Rapture happens AFTER THE TRIBULATION. There is NO OTHER WAY TO INTERPRET THOSE VERSES!

Period. End of Statement.

So, we have three passages that offer complete evidence that the Antichrist MUST come first, that the Resurrection of the Just MUST come first, that the Tribulation MUST come first.

Is there any part of this that you did not understand?

These Three Happen Before The Rapture

You CANNOT argue with those three verses, if you love the truth. And, you cannot be worthy to escape the Tribulation (Luke 21:36), if you do not love the truth.

Again, these three things must come BEFORE THE RAPTURE:

The Antichrist

The Resurrection

The Tribulation

There will be no Rapture until after those three things. Period.

Are you ready for this?

I do believe I have answered Mr. John Little’s every point. I have shown that he is mistaken on almost every point. The Scriptures Mr. Little appeals to in support of a Post-Tribulation Rapture have been shown to teach no such thing, but the very opposite.

It IS possible to settle differences in interpretation on controversial points about Bible prophecy or any other subject in the Bible. The procedure is just what I have demonstrated above. We must carefully compare Scripture with Scripture. We must carefully attend to the context of each passage cited. We must do Real Bible Study, following the 23 Rules of Interpretation posted to the right of this page in the October 2010 Archives.

I hope you have learned very much by reading this series on “The Rapture Question Answered.” Even I did!

If you agree with what I have posted in answer to Mr. John Little, or if you disagree with what I have posted, you are invited to leave a comment below or submit your own question or argument.

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