A Pre-Tribulation Rapture?

 

For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  - Matthew 24:27

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The Testimony of Luke 21 : our redemption draws near

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

The Bible tells us in Luke 21 that there will be great tribulation and terrible signs on the earth and in the heavens, but we should not fear. Instead, we are told to stand up and lift our heads, because our redemption is coming soon – the Lord Jesus will return in the sky with great power and glory:

 

Luke 21:

25   "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations,

     with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;

26   men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth,

     for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

27   Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28   Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."     (NKJV)

 

 

But whose redemption is it? It seems quite evident that it is talking about the saints of God. However, a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine states that this cannot be talking about the redemption of Christians, because Christians would be secretly taken away before all this tribulation. According to this doctrine, this redemption can only pertain to the Jews and everyone else who was left behind and not raptured away before the tribulation, but were converted during the tribulation. Is this true? No.

 

The Bible truth reveals that this redemption spoken of in Luke 21:28 applies to all believers and Christians will not be taken away in a secret rapture at all. Christians will still be on the earth and must endure the Great Tribulation even if we die. We must let the Bible explain itself and not allow a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine to bias our interpretation.

 

What does redemption mean in this context? Of course, the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work and blood saves all believers, including the dead, but the context is talking about those who are still alive and enduring through the Great Tribulation, so it cannot be referring to this type of redemption.

 

The Bible speaks of another kind of redemption: the redemption of our body.

 

We read:

 

Romans 8:

22   For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

23   And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,

     waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.   (NASB)

 

Ephesians 1:

13   In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:

     in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14   Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory. (AKJV)

 

Ephesians 4:

  30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption. (AKJV)

 

 

 

These verses speak of the following things:

 

1. The redemption of our bodies.

 

2. The redemption of God’s purchased possession (believers).

 

3. There is a day of redemption coming.

 

 

So the Bible tells us there will be a day our bodies will be redeemed.

 

 

The Bible tells us of our weak human bodies being changed into eternal bodies:

 

1 Corinthians 15:

51   Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52   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.

53   For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.   (AKJV)

 

2 Corinthians 5:

1     For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God,

     a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,

2     For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,

3     inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

4     For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed,

     so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.

5     Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.   (NASB)

 

1 John 3:

1     Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God:

     therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.

2     Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that,

     when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.   (AKJV)

 

 

Now when will this redemption of our bodies happen? The pre-tribulation rapture doctrine uses 1 Corinthians 15 to support its view.  However, in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, the apostle Paul makes it very clear that the redemption will happen at the blowing of the last trumpet. This last trumpet only happens after the Great Tribulation as Matthew 24:29-31 shows as well:

 

Matthew 24:

29   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:

30   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.

31   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.   (AKJV)

 

 

It must be noted also that the context of 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 is about the resurrection of dead believers who are changed in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump.  In Matthew 24:29-31, believers are gathered to Christ at the sound of a trumpet after the Great Tribulation (which would be the last trump, because it happens at the very end of everything just before the Kingdom of God is established on earth). So who are these saints in Luke 21:28 whose redemption draws near when Christ returns in great glory from the sky?

 

 

The Bible forces us to objectively see what the Bible truth is. It can only be one or the other:

 

1. If Matthew 24 is only speaking about Jews at this last trump after the Great Tribulation, then 1 Corinthians 15 must also be speaking about Jews (and the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine is proven false).

 

2. If 1 Corinthians 15 is only speaking about Christians at this last trump, then Matthew 24 must also be speaking about Christians (and the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine is proven false).

 

 

There cannot be two last trumps where one is a last trump for Christians and one is a last trump after the Great Tribulation for Jews.

 

If we are totally objective, the Bible must be telling us that both Matthew 24 and 1 Corinthians 15 are referring to Christians and the exact same event, or even if they are separate events, they both clearly still occur after the suffering and death of the saints in tribulation.  No matter which way we look at it, the pre-tribulation doctrine is absolutely false.

 

So the saints who should stand up and lift up their heads, because their redemption is near must be Christians (Christians are all believers in Christ – both Jew and Gentile). This confirms the Bible truth that the saints of God will be present through the Great Tribulation, and waiting for the Lord’s return – their redemption. They will not be redeemed before the Great Tribulation, but must witness it as a participant in it and through it with the hope of His return. Their redemption will not happen yet until they have seen all these signs, which places the time of their redemption – prepared to die and being called up to the Lord in risen and changed bodies, at the end of the Tribulation and not before it begins.

 

So we see from the very words of the Lord Jesus Himself, that the Christian's redemption draws near when we see these signs, and the great hope of our day of redemption occurs at the last trump only after the Great Tribulation.

 

 

 

Please also see related article: ‘Testimony of 1 Corinthians 15: Blink of an eye is not evidence of a pre-tribulaton rapture?