What does the Bible say about the future?
Background to the Rapture
Some claim around 20% of the Bible deals with yet unfulfilled prophecy. The following scriptures are a few of those to consider with these theories.
Daniel 12:1 … There’ll be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation until then. Then your people will be rescued – everyone that’s found written in the book. 2Many who sleep in the dust of the Earth will awake, some to eternal life, and some to shame and eternal punishment.
Matthew 24:21 These will be terrible times – the worst the world has ever seen or ever will see.
Matthew 24:42 Therefore remain vigilant: because you don’t know when your Lord will come.
Mark 13:26 Then they’ll see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great glory and power. 27He’ll send his angels to gather his chosen ones from the four winds, from the most distant corner of the Earth to the most distant corner of Heaven.
Luke 12:40 Be ready, since the Son of Man will come when you don’t expect.
Luke 21:36 Therefore continually be on guard and pray, that you might be found to be worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 You’re completely aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 God hasn’t appointed us to punishment, but to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, because that day won’t come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
7The hidden power of lawlessness is already at work. The one who restrains will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way. 8Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the glory of his coming.
Revelation 7:14 These are the ones who came out of great Tribulation and have washed their clothes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 13:5 He was given a mouth that spoke arrogantly and insulted God. He was allowed to continue for forty-two months.
Revelation 20:4 … and I saw the souls of those who were beheaded … These hadn’t worshipped the Beast …
These scriptures are hard to fit together – a bit like the Messiah being born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 but coming out of Egypt Hosea 11:1 and being called a Nazarene Isaiah 11:1 (the word for branch is written like Nazer). It’ll make sense afterwards.
Christ will come at an unpredictable time. The Antichrist won’t appear before the Restrainer is removed, but believers will be beheaded by the Antichrist. The Antichrist will show his true colors for the latter 3.5 years. We’ll escape what’s about to happen.
In Genesis 6-8, Noah, was carried above/through the flood waters. This imagery can be read either way.
While Daniel’s friends were sustained through the furnace, Daniel’s absence suggests God had already promoted him out of this situation. Pre-tribbers see that Daniel was raptured out of the Tribulation, but God sustained his friends through the Tribulation. I think this carries value either way.
Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we aren’t afraid to answer you concerning this. 17If it’s so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he’ll deliver us out of your hand, o king. 18But if not, be assured, o king, that we won’t serve your gods or worship the golden statue, which you’ve set up.”
The furnace consumed the executioners, but Jesus walked with the three in the furnace. It burned up their bonds but left them without even the smell of fire.
We can be assured that whatever happens, we are in God’s hands. In all of life’s troubles, God may miraculously heal or rescue us from them, or he may walk with us through them. We may be killed, to be with God in Heaven, or we may be miraculously sustained through our trouble, or mundanely. What’s important is:
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t depend on your own understanding. 6In everything you do, acknowledge him and he’ll direct your ways.
Some argue that Jesus says:
John 16:33 … In this world you’ll have tribulation. But take heart! I’ve overcome the world.
They lay too much weight on the antiquated word tribulation, which just means trouble. This is certainly a statement of fact in our everyday lives, but some take this literally as proof against Pre-Tribulation. Well, the Apostles had plenty of tribulation, as did my grandparents. Since this can be understood at face-value, it’s not necessary to interpret it in the context of the Tribulation.
There’ll be believers during the Tribulation. This is a strong argument against Pre-Tribulation. But many will subsequently recognize what’s going on and repent – particularly under the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of Revelation 7:4. These will have to endure the Tribulation – until their martyrdom, or death by [un]natural disaster, but a few will survive the entire seven years to repopulate the Earth during Jesus’ millennial reign.
End-Tribulation focuses on the fact that Tribulation martyrs will be resurrected. They see these as the Christians who happen to live during this time. While we are still in the world, we’ll be immune to God’s plagues on the wicked as were the Jews before the Exodus.
This combines Christ’s coming in the air with his return to the Mount of Olives.
A difficulty with this is claiming that all who did not receive the Antichrist’s Mark will be made immortal and raptured before those with the Mark who remain will be obliterated. Who then will populate the Millennia?
Mid-Tribulation distinguishes the Tribulation as the seal and trumpet judgements spanning the first 3.5 years; whereas the great Tribulation is the bowl judgements, which span the second 3.5 years. They claim this better accounts for the great distinction between the two halves of the Tribulation.
I think it distinct enough that the Jews are appeased in the first half, after which they endure a holocaust.