He repeatedly warns them not to be deceived by false prophets or claims that He has already returned. He also warns them that they will face great persecution. So much so that, “ye shall be hated of all men for my namesake.” But He assures them that, “he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved (Mark 13:13).” The gospel will be preached in all nations, the Abomination spoken of by Daniel will be revealed, and then will come a “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world, no, nor ever shall be (Matthew 24:21).”
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 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. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.“Immediately after the tribulation.” It really can’t be much clearer than that.
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.
Mark 13:24-27 reads:
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.Again, “after that tribulation.” Pre-tribulationists deny that these scriptures refer to the “Rapture,” instead they argue that they are about Jesus’ return to set up His Millennial kingdom on Earth, but if that’s true, then why are the angels gathering up the elect? Weren’t they already gathered up when they were raptured?
And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.Nope. “From the uttermost part of the earth” makes it pretty clear there are still Christians here.
In Revelations chapter five John sees Jesus as the “Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (verse 6).” The Lamb is worthy to open the book sealed with seven seals. As He opens the first four seals the four Horsemen are released. The fifth seal is opened and the martyred saints cry out for justice; they are given white robes and are told to rest “until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled (Revelations 6:11).”
The sixth seal is opened and great cataclysms shake the earth and the heavens. Angels seal 144,000 servants of God, “in their foreheads (Revelations 7:3),” 12,000 from each tribe of Israel. Then John sees “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues (Revelations 7:9) worshipping before the throne of God. He is told, “These are they which came out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelations 7:14).” Came out of the great tribulation.
When the seventh seal is opened there is silence in heaven for half an hour, then the seven angels are given seven trumpets. Another angel offers the prayers of the saints on the altar and then cast the fire of the altar on the earth. With the fifth seal the martyred saints cried for justice and were told to wait until those of their fellow saints who would be martyred were martyred. With the sixth seal those saints are before the throne of God. With the seventh seal God’s justice is being meted out onto the earth. As each trumpet is sounded great terror is unleashed on the earth and on humanity. Even the bottomless pit is opened and Hell is power to hurt mankind for five months—except “those men which have the seal of God in their foreheads (Revelations 9:4).”
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 reads,
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.At the last trump.
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; and he shall reign for ever and ever.When the last trumpet sounds Jesus will return and His saints will put on incorruptible—at the same time!
Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 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.There is no secret rapture. Jesus is coming and all the world will see Him.
In continuing this study I next want to look at where the idea of a secret rapture, distinct from the Second Coming, originated. Before that, however, I recently read an interesting piece in the New York Review of Books and want to blog on that first. Til then!