“That Blessed Hope.” Three marvelous words that lovingly wrap the soul in boundless comfort for all who truly know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. And what is that blessed hope of which the Bible speaks? Simply this:
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13). That’s right. “That Blessed Hope” is the glorious pre-tribulation rapture as is here clearly stated in plain and simple language. The pre-tribulation rapture is a truth built on the entire body of Scripture from which its beauty and clarity flow seamlessly. Nevertheless in spite of this, there are some Christians (and I love them dearly in Christ Jesus) who consider the pre-tribulation rapture to be nothing more than a mere fairy tale. For reasons that are admittedly beyond the understanding of this country boy preacher they are Christians who fully expect to get “roughed up” by God before Christ returns. As I see it, such reckless thinking is the result of but one culprit - they are worshiping a different God, a false God, a limited God, for such does not fall within the parameters of the Great “I AM.” I weep for those who erringly deny the pre-tribulation rapture for they are blind to the power of God. Oh that they would open their eyes and soften their heart in order to realize that such belief in a sort of ''earthly pergatory'' has extremely serious consequences to the understanding of the sufficiency of the Cross. It is a self imposed millstone around the neck for those individuals who erroneously hold to and perpetuate the lie that the Church needs to experience the wrath of God by being present during the great tribulation in order to be purified. To teach such falsehood is to deny Christ’s sacrificial death upon the Cross and its very purpose. To deliberately reject “that blessed hope” and replace it with a ‘man-made’ doctrine serves only to poison to the very core our hope in God's providence. To deny the certain and imminent rapture is a nemesis to God, to His Word, and to His Character. To insist that God’s promise of the pre-tribulation rapture is not valid is to also insist that none of His promises are valid. It advocates a slanderous view of God Himself. “Let no man deceive you by any means” warns the Bible. What this tells us is that we are not to listen to those who fail in accepting God’s marvelous promises and the many expressions of His incredible love for His own, among which is one of His greatest and most comforting promises of the pre-tribulation rapture. It is a certainty that on that day will be revealed who the true Christians were and those who were just pretending. It will bring to light those false teachers who deliberately deny the great and comforting Scriptural truth of the rapture and those individuals will abruptly be awakened to the fact that they have effectively edified satan rather than God. For the truth of the matter remains and it is this: ...to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10) It doesn’t get much clearer than that!
Salvation and the Rapture are inseparable. When, through genuine repentance and faith we receive God’s free gift of salvation, it is at that very moment that we become a child of God, an immediate member of His Family. What a glorious thing! Therefore, to the anti-pre-tribulation rapture proponents the question then becomes one of “Why would God deliberately leave His Own Family to endure the wickedness and suffering of the tribulation? The clear answer of course is that He would not do such a thing because such is not within the character of the God that I know and worship, and it is most certainly NOT the God presented in the Bible. Let us imagine that your family owns a demolition business and you are ready to bring down a large structure with dynamite. Your entire family is still inside working. Do you go ahead and push the detonator or do you first remove them from the structure? The answer is obvious. Neither is it within God’s character that He should make His very own family, those who are redeemed by the Atoning Blood of His Son Jesus Christ, to suffer and endure that which is appointed only unto the unredeemed and unrepentant. For God to promise His children that as we “wait for His Son from Heaven” we will then “escape all these things,” but then does just the opposite and leaves them here to experience that wrath would make God both a hypocrite and a liar. Thus He would not be a perfect God and you and I would find ourselves without any hope at all. Therefore to deny the pre-tribulation rapture is in every sense to call God a liar. That the Church will suffer the Great Tribulation is, of course, not true. It most certainly is not in any wise supported Scripturally and, truth be told, to deny the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church is to re-write the Gospel, and ‘Anti-pre-tribulation rapture’ proponents do precisely that. “Watch ye therefore (states the Bible), and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to ESCAPE (speaks of the rapture of the Church) all these things that shall come to pass....” (Luke 21:36). That we will be kept out of the tribulation was foretold to John by Jesus in (Rev. 3:10) wherein is explained that the Church WILL be raptured out before the great tribulation.
Though it undoubtedly comes as a great disappointment to the ‘Anti-pre-tribulation rapture’ proponents the truth is that there is not one verse in the entirety of the Bible that indicates in the slightest that the Church will go through the Tribulation period. In fact, if one wants proof of the Pre-tribulation Rapture it is a simple matter of reading the Bible. In it we find that the comforting promise of the pre-tribulation rapture is as plain as the fact that Jesus Christ is Messiah. Both Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul made statements clearly establishing the coming rapture of the Church. Jesus said, in Matthew 25:13, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." We are here instructed to be ready always for the rapture for we know neither the day nor the hour. Paul affirmed in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18: "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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." It simply is not possible for one to reject this plain assurance of the pre-tribulation rapture and still claim that they believe God’s Word. You either believe all of it or you believe none of it. His Word is not subject to “pick and choose” it’s as simple as that. We must take note that the Bible refers to the fact of the pre-tribulation rapture as “a comfort.” What comfort is it to a man to tell him that he is going to suffer God’s Wrath even though he has given himself over completely to Jesus Christ and has been established as a direct member of God’s Own Family? That is precisely what those who deny the rapture teach…hopelessness!
Scripture provides advance knowledge, in clear fashion, that the world will grow worse and worse, that the Church will be mercifully removed from earth, and that God’s judgment will then begin to fall on those who rebelled against Him and rejected His Son Jesus Christ. From Revelation chapter 4 through Revelation chapter 19 we see an obvious change in God’s attitude toward mankind. It changes from one of mercy (which has been demonstrated for thousands of years) to that of judgment. Not once is the Body of Christ (the Church) seen on earth at this time while judgment is poured out upon sin and iniquity. Absolutely nothing is said about the Church on earth after Revelation 4:1. The Church is mentioned one time IN HEAVEN, but not on earth.
That some would mock the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church is to come as no surprise to us since we are forewarned of this very thing in 2 Peter 3: 3-4: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” It is (at least to this country preacher) inexplicable that one would “choose” to go through and endure the tribulation despite God’s promise to the contrary.
As previously shown, the Old Testament and the book of Revelation leave the Church out of the Tribulation. It is after the marriage supper of the Lamb that Jesus is seen with the armies of heaven coming to earth to lay waste to the armies of the earth and to cast the beast and false prophet into hell. These “armies” are the saints of God, all the saints who have ever lived, meaning we will be with Him at the second coming. Thus, by necessity, the resurrection and rapture of the church have ALREADY taken place before Jesus’ second coming. Indisputable proof that anti pre-tribulation proponents “do greatly err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18 says that believers should comfort one another with the truth of His coming appearing because meeting Christ in the air at the rapture is a great and glorious hope. It is a great day to look forward to.
In any Biblical content concerning the Tribulation the Church cannot be found. Of those who choose not to receive and accept God’s promised mercy of the pre-tribulation rapture of His Church the Bible says “Woe unto you who desire the day of the LORD (God’s wrath!) to what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?” The Bible says that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). When we repent of our sin ask His forgiveness and invite Him to live in our heart as Lord and Savior we are then (states the Bible) “….light in the Lord:” (Ephesians 5:8). So, if the Bible describes the tribulation as “darkness” but God is “Light,” and true Christians walk in that Light as children of light ("Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” 1 Thessalonians 5:5) then it is impossible that we should be present during the dark period of the tribulation. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). “Ye are NOT in darkness, that that day (the rapture) should overtake you as a thief. For He cometh as a “thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:4 & 5:2).
Every person who has read the Bible knows from Scripture that God would not destroy the wicked people in Noah's day until Noah and his family were all safely aboard the ark and God had shut the door. The same is true of Lot and his family. The Lord had made a promise to Abraham that Lot would be spared (the same promise He has given us in His promise of the rapture). We read in Genesis 19:22, "Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither." These words were spoken by the angel whom God had sent to reign down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Judgment would not fall upon Sodom until Lot was removed. Likewise, God’s judgment which is coming on the world cannot come until believers (the Church) are safely removed and raptured away. Why? Because God has promised that His Church will be spared from the great tribulation which will be a monstrosity of horrors like this world has never known or can ever possibly imagine. God will not allow the Church to go through the Tribulation which Jesus described as a “....great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21).
Any teaching that falls outside the parameters of Scriptures clear and concise promise of the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church succeeds only in robbing the Church of her “blessed hope.” A hope that is established upon the very Blood of Jesus Christ Himself! Friends, the Tribulation is NOT for the Church. The Tribulation is God's wrath upon the unbelieving world. True believers in Christ during the Church Age (represented by the Church of Philadelphia) are promised in Revelation 3:10, "Because you have kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them who dwell upon the earth.” (Indeed the Church WILL be raptured out before the Great Tribulation).
We find in I Corinthians 15:52 a concise description replete with simplicity and clarity of that which every Christian should look forward to with great anticipation: “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.” Is it any wonder that Scripture calls the imminent pre-tribulation rapture ‘that blessed hope?’ “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Likewise, I Thessalonians 4:17 provides this very simplistic description of the pre-tribulation rapture: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP (raptured) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Those words “Caught Up” come from the Greek word ‘harpazo’ meaning to “carry off,” to “grasp hastily,” to “snatch up.” Yet those who reject ‘that Blessed Hope’ are adrift in a boat whose sails get their wind from the breath of satan and not from the Atoning Power of Christ’s Precious Shed Blood. Again, one cannot reject these scriptures and with any validity claim to hold to any other parts of the Bible. It is all or nothing. What is it that drives such to reject and deny this blessed hope so mercifully purchased for us by the Only Begotten Son of God? One can only imagine.
It would be a simple matter to expound at greater length on God’s truth’s and His comforting promise of the pre-tribulation rapture. However, given the fact of the simplicity of the truth of the pre-tribulation rapture as presented in Scripture I find that no additional discourse in the matter is necessary. Of course, God has given mankind free will and as such each person has the freedom to choose to “escape these things” or to suffer through the great tribulation and forfeit God’s offered mercy.
In closing let me say this: It is with great joy and comfort that those of us who have truly accepted Christ into our heart as personal Lord and Saviour can embrace His great promise of “that blessed hope.” Let me also reiterate in all humbleness that simply because one chooses to deny the truth of that blessed hope does absolutely nothing to change its validity and truth. The prophesied and promised rapture of His Church IS truth. It is God’s Truth and it will always remain as such. There are and always will be those who for various reasons insist on lying about God’s truth but they cannot turn it into a falsehood. There will always be those who attempt to bastardize the Bible and its inerrant and infallibly teachings. Yet even though they rebel against God’s truth they can do nothing to abolish it. His truth is incontrovertible. Spite and evil may criticize it, ignorance may ridicule mock and speak against it, but in the end there it is and there it forever remains....God's Truth!
God bless you,