Why I Believe What I Do About The Return Of Christ And The Catching Away Of The Church. -Part 2

Does your eschatology truly have its foundation in the Scriptures? I can show my beliefs about the Return of Christ clearly and plainly stated in the Bible! Can You?

by Paul Benson

This is a continuation of part one of this article. You can find that first part HERE. Let’s jump right back into it, shall we?

The Wrath Of God Is Poured Out At The Return Of Christ And NOT Before!

Although many teach otherwise, it is clear from what is actually stated in the Scriptures that the Wrath of God is poured out at the Return of Christ, and not in the years preceding. A proper understanding of the difference between God’s Judgments upon mankind, and the outpouring of his Wrath, is crucial to a proper grasp on end-time prophesy. Many believers today lack that understanding!

What precedes Christ’s Return is a period of extreme judgments which are a final call to repentance. God’s judgments, although at times quite severe, are redemptive in nature and offer an opportunity for repentance (which we clearly see offered to mankind during the time of tribulation). The Wrath of God offers no such opportunity. It is not a call to repentance; it is vengeance! It is completely punitive in nature.

Paul described the Second Coming as a time when: the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Th 1:7-8). This theme of the wrath of God being expressed at Christ’s Return is clearly seen throughout the end-time prophesies.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; +18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come… Revelation 11:15+18

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. Revelation 15:1

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Revelation 19:15

Although the wrath of God is certainly mentioned in the book of Revelation (and else where in the end-time prophesies), we must understand that not everything in Revelation takes place in the final 3 ½ years (or 7 according to some). Many of these things take place either before or after the tribulation. There is not one place we see the wrath of God expressed in the end-time picture BEFORE the Return of Christ.

The Great Tribulation Is NOT God’s Wrath

I do not believe the time of the great tribulation is an outpouring of God’s wrath! The wrath of God comes afterward. The only mention of wrath being poured out during the tribulation is the wrath of Satan (Rev. 12:12).

In fact the great tribulation CANNOT be the wrath of God or Jesus spoke falsely in Matthew 24:21! I have raised this point many times; and will continue to do so as it is irrefutable!

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  Matthew 24:21

Jesus stated in no uncertain terms that this great tribulation (whatever it may be) would be the worst expression of it that ever had been or ever will be! This certainly cannot be talking about the wrath of God as it would have to exceed the wrath of Noah’s day which destroyed the entire world, the wrath poured out at the Second Coming which destroys all the wicked, and also the wrath of the eternal lake of fire, in order to fit what Jesus said.

The great tribulation will be a time of great wars, calamities, and disasters! It will be a time of great persecution against the Church. And it will be a time when Satan visits his evil upon mankind. All like never seen before or will be again! But it cannot be properly referred to as the wrath of God! I discuss this in greater detail HERE.

I Believe The Christian Church Are The Elect Of God

A major tenet of dispensational / pre-trib theory rests upon a false claim that national Israel is still in a position of election (and the Body of Christ is not)! Their erroneous theory firmly states that God deals with his Jewish elect and his (supposedly) non-elect Church separately in the end-time scenario. And then they further declare God must remove the Church to ‘deal’ with the Jews. (God pours his wrath out upon his elect? I thought God’s wrath was reserved for his enemies? Nahum 1:2)

This Separation Theology is so evidently contrary to what is plainly taught in the Bible I marvel that anyone could embrace it as truth. The Bible teaches the Jew and Gentile believers are one new man in Christ joined together in one body! Ephesians 2:11-16 distinctly says so! Read it and believe it! When anyone turns to faith in Jesus and his work on the Cross they become a member of the Body of Christ! To state those of national Israel who turn to Christ in the last days will be a separate entity from the Body of Christ flies in the face of what the Bible teaches about election.

Many can sound quite convincing with their Scripture twisting theories, but concerning election the Bible does NOT teach us Separation Theology (nor Covenant Theology), but gives us instead Remnant Theology (a remnant of Jewish believers joined in their election by the believing Gentiles). Sorting this all out may appear to some as a daunting task, but it really is not! We can easily understand our election through the simple illustration Paul gave in Romans 11. You can find an article explaining the simple biblical view of election HERE.

In addition, much insight can be gained by a word search on ‘elect / election’ in the New Testament. This really helped open my eyes. In MANY places the Church is referred to as the elect of God; but not one place in the New Testament is national Israel shown to currently be in a state of election (though they certainly ARE called to return to that status). I believe the Christian believers (Jew and Gentile) are the ‘Elect of God’ in this day (and therefor are the elect being caught up to Christ at the Second Coming in Matt. 24:31).

When someone tells you the followers of Christ are not God’s elect they are deceiving you. I base that belief upon an overwhelming witness in the Scriptures which teaches we ARE his elect!.

The Resurrection Of The Just Is One Event That Happens At One Time

You will hear many people question: ‘When does the rapture happen’? But to talk about the timing of ‘the‘ rapture is not even in line with pre-trib theory! When a pre-trib promoter mentions ‘the rapture’ the response should be: ‘Which one’? For that theory demands there be two (or more) raptures for it to work out.

Though many don’t realize this, the fact the Scriptures teach a resurrection and catching away at the Second Coming is not denied by the theologians preaching the pre-trib theory. The text of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 17+21 demand a resurrection /catching away at the Second Coming. It is so evident in Scripture it cannot be reasonably refuted. There WILL be a resurrection / catching away at the Second Coming regardless of any supposed previous event! People need to embrace that as an irrefutable part of end-time prophesy.

What they are teaching is an additional prior resurrection / catching away. TWO resurrections of the Just! TWO raptures! Both a pre-trib catching away to remove the Church prior to the tribulation; and also a catching away at Christ’s return to Earth for (in their thinking) the tribulation saints and those surviving the tribulation. But a major problem to the notion of multiple resurrections and raptures is that this is in opposition to what is clearly stated in the Bible.

Not only does God’s Word teach a resurrection / catching away, as we have already seen, at Christ’s Return to Earth; it also plainly teaches the Resurrection of the Righteous is ONE event which happens at ONE time.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming (Parousia). 24 Then cometh the end… 1Corinthians 15:20-24

This passage clearly speaks that ALL those who are Christ’s redeemed will be resurrected in ONE event, and that is the event of his Coming (Parousia). The same Coming (Parousia) that destroys Antichrist at the end of his reign! (2Thess 2:8)

The Resurrection of the Just must precede the catching away. PERIOD! There can be NO rapture before the resurrection of the believers at Christ’s Coming (Parousia); and likewise there can be no additional resurrection of believers after this one event (as pre-trib theory demands) if it were before the tribulation. Either would be in opposition to what is clearly taught – ONE Resurrection of the Just!! And as the Bible clearly teaches a resurrection / catching away at the Second Coming, this makes the notion of a pre-trib event an impossibility!

If you put the focus upon the resurrection, where it belongs (instead of our quick trip from earth up to the clouds), any confusion about timing is cleared up by the Word. Settle this in your mind! Study it out! Does the Bible expressly show a resurrection / catching away at the Return of Christ after the tribulation? If so, the idea of a prior event is a contradiction to Scripture, and is an absolute farce.

I believe in our ONE resurrection / catching away at the Return of Christ. It’s what is clearly taught in the Bible. The notion of multiple ‘raptures’ is out of sync with the truth of God’s Word..

Sudden Destruction of the Wicked Immediately Follows The Catching Away Of The Righteous

Something we can see expressly stated in multiple witnesses is that the catching away immediately precedes the destruction of the wicked in an outpouring of God’s wrath. The context of this passage from Matthew is the Second Coming: immediately after the tribulation of those days.. Matt. 24:29

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming (Parousia) of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming (Parousia) of the Son of man be. Matthew 24:37-39

Notice this is the Coming (Parousia), The same event described in the previous passage on the resurrection we discussed from 1Corinthians 15. Now let’s look at Luke’s words on this

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30

One thing we should take notice of is that whereas Matthew called this appearance of Jesus his ‘Coming (Parousia)’, Luke referred to it as the day he is revealed. The Revelation of Christ and his Coming are not two events, they are the same event!

But the main thing I want to emphasize in these Scriptures is that Jesus was using an allegorical reference to both the days of Noah and the days of Lot to point out one remarkable similarity to the day of his Coming and our catching away.

Same day – sudden destruction!

The same day the door on the Ark was shut – the sudden destruction of the wicked! The same day Lot left Sodom and entered the safety of the town of Zoar – the sudden destruction of the wicked! The same day of the catching away of the Church at Christ’s Coming – the sudden destruction of the wicked!

Same day – sudden destruction!

This was clearly the point Jesus was making here in this allegorical description. In all three events the deliverance of the righteous is immediately followed by the destruction of the wicked! This is NOT a picture of a pre-trib catching away in any fashion. The context of these passages from Matthew and Luke is absolutely the Coming (parousia) / catching away of the Second Coming.

Now let’s tie this in with the description of the catching away in 1Thessalonians chapters 4 and 5. This might surprise you!

Why 1Thessalonians 4:17 Is A Description Of The Second Coming NOT A Pre-Trib Rapture!

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. 1Thessalonians 4:17

The words above are taken from what is commonly called the ‘rapture passage’; but again I must protest loudly and say: WHICH ONE? Is this talking about a (supposed) pre-trib catching away or the one at the Second Coming? This question is easily cleared up by placing that verse back into its proper (and complete!) context; an endeavor few seem to see the importance of. But it is critical to the proper understanding of what is being discussed.

We obviously know this letter of Paul was not written with verse numbering and chapter-breaks. And this is one of the many places a chapter break can cause one to lose touch with the true and complete context of a passage. This context of discussion concerning the return of Christ and our gathering together unto him begins in chapter 4 verse 13 and continues through chapter 5 verse 4 (and beyond actually).

Let’s read the entire passage, without the distracting chapter-break, and ask ourselves: Is this a discussion of a pre-trib rapture or of the Second Coming of Christ?

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 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: 17 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. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 1Thessalonians 4:13 thru 5:4

Once again (mirroring Christ’s allegory of Noah and Lot) we have a clear description of the catching away immediately followed by the destruction of the wicked. The fact this passage in context ties the catching away to the sudden destruction of the wicked destroys the notion it is talking about a pre-trib rapture! It is for this reason even many pre-trib preaching theologians will admit 1Thess 4 is NOT a pre-trib rapture passage (but sadly never discourage the practice of claiming it to be).

And if you follow the same context a little further you will see not only the phrase ‘like a thief in the night’ but also the ever popular ‘God has not appointed us to wrath’ are both found to be referring to the ‘wrath’ of the Second Coming (though both get hi-jacked and mistakenly applied to the pre-trib theory instead)! A lot of guile goes on in the mistreatment of this group of Scriptures. A WHOLE LOT OF GUILE!

I hope you can now see why I believe these verses on the catching away (as well as the phrases ‘like a thief in the night’ and ‘God has not appointed us to wrath’) are in relation to the Second Coming, and the subsequent outpouring of God’s wrath, and are not speaking of a previous event.

The Church WILL Face Antichrist And The Mark Of The Beast

Since I just posted an article that directly addresses this question I will simply give you a link to that writing:

The Darkness Before The Dawn: Before Christ Comes Antichrist!

Well we are running a bit long again so I will call that enough. But by now you should see I honestly try to base my beliefs upon facts expressly stated in the Word of God, and not upon unsupported notions like those of the pre-trib rapture hoax.

I have raised issue with the lack of Scriptural validation for the various elements of the pre-trib rapture theory in an article called:

Unanswered Questions About The Pre-trib Rapture. 

It has been posted to my site for some time now with a decent readership. But no one has yet provided me with the Scriptural foundation for their various doctrinal claims which I’m questioning. And they will not!

There is no such foundation!

The Bible teaches the catching away of the Church to meet Jesus upon his glorious Return AFTER the tribulation of those days!

Any other teaching is a fraud, and a damaging deception!

Paul Benson

http://www.paulbenson.me

Here is a list of the articles I have done to date refuting the pre-tribulation rapture theory:

Articles On The Pre-Trib Rapture Theory by Paul Benson

I welcome your input. If you would like to share comment or criticism please feel free to do so in the section below. Overly long comments may be edited for length. Also I will not post the false teachings of others.

Thank you for visiting my site.

Author: Paul Benson

My Website www.paulbenson.me My blog 'Let's Get It Right!' is at pbenson.me

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