Thy Kingdom Come – The Pretribulation Rapture (Part 3)

Thy Kingdom Come – The Pretribulation Rapture (Part 3)

I. Article Title. The Church. (Distinctions between the rapture and the second coming of Christ. The twenty-four elders. The problem behind 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The announcement of peace and safety.)

A. Distinctions between the rapture and the second coming of Christ. There are a number of contrasts to be drawn between the rapture and the second advent which will show that they are not viewed as synonymous in Scripture. The fact of two separate programs is best seen by a number of contrasts drawn in Scripture between the two events. (1) The translation entails the removal of all believers, while the second advent entails the appearing or manifestation of the Son. (2) The translation sees the saints caught up into the air, and in the second advent He returns to the earth. (3) In the translation Christ comes to claim a bride, but in the second advent He returns with the bride. (4) The translation results in the removal of the church and the inception of the tribulation, and the second advent results in the establishment of the millennial kingdom. (5) The translation is imminent, while the second advent is preceded by a multitude of signs. (6) The translation brings a message of comfort, while the second advent is accompanied by a message of judgment. (7) The translation is related to the program for the church, while the second advent is related to the program for Israel and the world. (8) The translation is a mystery, while the second advent is predicted in both Testaments. (9) At the translation believers are judged, but at the second advent the Gentiles and Israel are judged. (10) The translation leaves creation unchanged, while the second advent entails the change in creation. (11) At the translation Gentiles are unaffected, while at the second advent Gentiles are judged. (12) At the translation Israel’s covenants are unfulfilled, but at the second advent all her covenants are fulfilled. (13) The translation has no particular relation to the program of God in relation to evil, while at the second advent evil is judged. (14) The translation is said to take place before the day of wrath, but the second advent follows it. (15) The translation is for believers only, but the second advent has its effect on all men. (16) The expectation of the church in regard to the translation is “the Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5), while the expectation of Israel in regard to the second advent is “the kingdom is at hand” (Matt. 24:14). (17) The expectation of the church at the translation is to be taken into the Lord’s presence, while the expectation of Israel at the second advent is to be taken into the kingdom. These, and other contrasts which might be presented, support the contention that these are two different programs and can not be unified into one event. The translation refers to the rapture of the church (1 Thes 15:50-53; 1 Thes 4:13-18; John 14:2-3; Titus 2:13).

B. The twenty-four elders. In Revelation 4:4 John is given a vision of twenty-four elders who are seated on thrones, clothed in white raiment, crowned with golden crowns, and in heaven in the presence of God. The elders represent the believers in heaven, Old and New Testaments believers.

C. The problem behind 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The Thessalonian Christians were not ignorant of the fact of resurrection. This was too well established to need presentation or defense. That which elicited this revelation from Paul to them was their misunderstanding of the relation between the resurrection and the saints who were asleep in Christ to the rapture. Paul writes then, not to teach the fact of resurrection, but rather the fact that at the rapture the living would not have an advantage over the dead in Christ. If the Thessalonians had believed that the church would be going through the seventieth week they would have rejoiced that some of their brethren had missed this period of suffering and were with the Lord without experiencing the outpouring of wrath. If the church were going through the tribulation it would be better to be with the Lord than to have to await the events of the seventieth week. They would be praising the Lord that their brethren were spared these events instead of feeling that those had missed some of the Lord’s blessings. These Christians evidently believed that the church would not go through the seventieth week and in their anticipation of the return of Christ mourned for their brethren; their concern was that some had missed the blessing of this event, the rapture, also known as the catching up of the saints.

D. The announcement of peace and safety. In 1 Thes. 5:3 Paul tells the Thessalonian church that the Day of the Lord will come after the announcement of “peace and safety.” This false security will lull many into a state of lethargy in relation to the Day of the Lord so that that day comes as a thief. This announcement that has produced this lethargy precedes the Day of the Lord. If the church were in the seventieth week there would be no possibility that, during the period when believers are being persecuted by the beast to an unprecedented degree, such a message could be preached and find acceptation so that men would be lulled into complacency. All the signs would point to the fact that they were not in a time of “peace and safety.” The fact that the visitation of wrath, judgment and darkness is preceded by the announcement of such a message indicates that the church must be raptured before that period can begin.

II. Article References. 

Lewis Sperry Chafer, Th. D. (1871-1952). J. Vernon McGee, Th. D. (1904-1988). Merrill F. Unger, Ph. D. (1909-1980). Charles L. Feinberg, Ph. D. (1909-1995). John F. Walvoord, Th. D. (1910-2002). J. Dwight Pentecost, Th. D. (1915-2014). Charles C. Ryrie, Ph. D. (1925-2016). Robert L. Thomas, Th. D. (1928-2017). Stanley D. Toussaint, Th. D. (1928-2017). Robert P. Lightner, Th. D. (1931-2018). Harold W. Hoehner, Ph. D. (1935-2009). Thomas S. McCall, Th. D. (1936-2021). Edward E. Hindson, Ph. D. (1944-2022).

A. One of the most difficult and most important factors of writing an article is related to sources of information. A writer must ensure that such sources have a high degree of knowledge on the subjects that are being written, and also must have a high degree of respect from other writers. A second factor that must be considered relates to how to lawfully use material of other writers. In this web site, copyright statutes are not violated. Also, “public domain,” is to be considered.

B. In this article, I have chosen theologians whom have proven themselves to be highly respected by others in the Biblical doctrine of eschatology (the study of what Scripture teaches about the end times), and other doctrines of scripture. All of the references in this article have a connection with Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) as graduate or instructor. Other source of information in this article: Henry C. Thiessen.

C.  For education and other supporting data for each source of information in this article, please refer to my Page, “About My References.” The following links show information about Dallas Theological Seminary; I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Seminary. It is important to understand that DTS is not a denominational seminary, and is totally independent of such.

D. About Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).

1. General Info.

2. Doctrinal Statement.

3. President.

a. Mark Yarbrough. Th. M., Ph. D.

b. Professor of Bible Exposition. Author. Church Pastor/Elder.


Author: Equipping

You may contact me by emailing me on my site's email address, as follows: The Church is the Church, and Israel is Israel. The Church did not replace Israel, and is not spiritual Israel. In the New Testament, “church” and “Israel” are mentioned as being separate entities. In the New Testament “church” is mentioned 112 times; Israel is mentioned 79 times; both are mentioned as being separate entities The Kingdom “has not yet come,” and will not come until the Jewish bloodline of Israel accepts God’s chosen king (Deuteronomy 17:15), which will take place at the end of the Tribulation when the nation of Israel faces decimation and calls on Messiah, Christ, in faith, to save them (Zechariah 12:10). Individual salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and comes through Christ (John 14:6). Things are discussed in this website that relate to God’s creation, from “eternity to eternity,” and all that is addressed within those parameters. Consider Isaiah 43:13, “Even from eternity I am He, And there is no one who can rescue from My hand; I act, and who can reverse it?” The Moody Study Bible adds a comment: “God is the ruler of all, and there is nothing that can stand against Him. His will is irresistible. The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds this thought: “No one can reverse what God puts into action or thwart His plans.” The articles that are found in this site may relate to anything that is found in the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22.21, as well as anything else that may relate to the Bible..

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