Recently I was challenged to make a list of
all the passages in the Bible that hint of a pre-trib rapture.
As you may know I believe Paul was the first person on
Earth to present a clear pre-trib teaching, about 20 years after
the cross. Before
that time it was unknown because Jesus didn't teach it to His
other disciples during their time together.
And since the Olivet Discourse is directed at Israel,
there's no mention of it there either, even though the end times
is in view. Israel
will not participate in the rapture.
Now I'll be the first to admit that doing
this requires that you already have a working knowledge of the
pre-trib position, because without it you wouldn't recognize
some of these references as being pertinent to the subject.
But ever since Paul revealed the rapture, scholars have
been seeing hints of it here and there, even in the Old
Before we begin,
in 1 Cor. 2:6-8 Paul explained why God's plans for
the church had been kept secret until after the crucifixion.
He said that
if the rulers of this age (Satan & Co.) had understood all that
God intended for us they would not have crucified the Lord. Not
that they could have stopped it, of course.
But had they known God was going to use the murder of His
Son to save us all, they wouldn't have gone ahead with it, and
in fact would have tried to prevent it.
It wasn't until He was on the cross that they discovered
the Lord's death was going to become payment in full for all our
sins, so instead of it being cause for a great celebration it
totally disarmed them and made them into a public spectacle
Then, 20 years later, they learned about the rapture.
These were both things that God had planned from the
beginning, but a good general keeps his strategy a secret in
order to take his enemy by surprise, so God didn't let Satan (or
anyone else) know about these things until it was too late for
him to react. Even
now, Satan doesn't know when the rapture is coming.
All he knows
is what we know, that each new believer could be the last one,
the one that takes us all out of here and beyond his reach
I'm convinced that God's plan requires the
Church to disappear before Daniel's 70th week begins.
Remember, the Lord set aside 70 weeks (490 years) for
Israel to accomplish 6 things (Daniel 9:24).
At the end of 69 weeks (483 years) Jesus was crucified,
the clock suddenly stopped and Israel disappeared along with its
Temple and Old Covenant worship.
Daniel's prophecy was left incomplete and from that time
on, God's focus was on the church.
The reappearance of Israel in 1948, the
promised rebuilding of a Temple, and resumption of Levitical
sacrifice during the 70th week make it clear that the
Church didn't end the dispensation of Law but only interrupted
it seven years short of its intended duration.
We would all agree that if the introduction of a dam into
a stream of water interrupts its flow, then it's reasonable and
logical to conclude that removal of the dam will be necessary
for the flow to resume. Therefore if the introduction of the
Church after the 69th week of Daniels prophecy caused
the interruption in
it's reasonable and logical to conclude that
the Church will have to be removed before the final seven
years of the dispensation of Law can run their course and
Daniel's prophecy can be fulfilled.
Of course there are other sound reasons why
the church has to disappear before the End Times begin in
earnest. Not having
a destiny on Earth, our presence here would serve no purpose
during the time of Earth's liberation from bondage (Romans
being subject to judgment the Church has no unfinished business
with God that could be concluded during the End Times.
Unlike Israel we don't need to be made righteous because
we're already as righteous as God is (2 cor. 5:21).
Jeremiah 30:11 says the End time
judgments will serve a two fold purpose, to completely destroy
all the nations among which Israel has been scattered and to
discipline Israel. Since God does not consider the Church to
belong to either group our presence on Earth during that time
would be irrelevant.
But the most important reason, as we'll
see, is that God said we won't be here.
Those who teach the Church's presence on Earth during any
part of Daniel's70th Week have to re-define grace, re-invent the
church and re-interpret the Scriptures to support their
With that introduction, let's look at some
of the clearest hints God placed in the Scriptures to show He
has always planned for a pre-tribulation rapture of the church.
Naturally, we'll begin in the Old Testament.
Enoch walked with God; then he was no
more, because God took Him away. (Genesis 5:24)
In Matt. 24:37, Jesus said that the
time of His coming would be like the days of Noah.
He went onto explain that just as all the unbelievers
perished in the flood, all unbelievers would perish at the time
of His 2nd coming as well.
Those who survive the devastation of the Great
Tribulation will immediately face judgment and be taken off the
planet. The parables
of the servant, the ten virgins, and the talents explain this,
as does the account of the Sheep and Goat judgment. (Matt.
But if you give the Lord's statement its
widest possible application, you can see that as the time of the
Great Flood drew near there were 3 kinds of people on Earth.
There were the unbelievers who perished in the flood,
Noah and his family who were preserved through it, and
Enoch, who was taken by the Lord well before it.
Just so, as the End of the Age draws near
there will still be three kinds of people on Earth.
They are the unbelievers of our time who will perish in
the End Times judgments, modern Israel who will be preserved
through them, and the Church who will be taken by God well
before they begin.
There some interesting similarities between
Enoch and the Church.
For starters, the name Enoch comes from a root which
means to train or teach.
To the church Jesus said, “Go and make disciples
(students) of all men. (Matt. 28:19) And according to
Hebrew tradition, Enoch was born on the day that would become
Pentecost. It's the
same day the Church was born. I believe Enoch was an early type
of the Church and his disappearance before the flood gave the
first hint of a pre-tribulation rapture.
Lot Had To Leave Sodom
But flee there quickly, because I can
not do anything until you reach it. (Genesis 19:23)
Abraham had struck a bargain with the Lord
that if even 10 righteous people could be found in Sodom and
Gomorrah He would spare the cities.
The fact that the cities were destroyed indicates 10
righteous people could not be found there.
But there was one, and though He wasn't bound to do it,
the Lord instructed the angels to get Lot out of town before
commencing their judgment. Peter referred to Lot's rescue from
Sodom as evidence that the Lord does not judge the righteous
with the wicked (2 peter 2:7-9)
Lot therefore becomes a model of the Church, who with a
righteousness imputed by faith, has to be removed from the time
and place of judgment before it begins.
Where Was Daniel?
Daniel 3 contains one of the most
popular children's stories of the Old Testament.
Many don't realize that it's also one of the clearest
models of the End Times anywhere in the Bible.
Nebuchadnezzar represents the anti-Christ who decrees that
anyone who refuses to bow down and worship the statue he has
made will be put to death in the fiery furnace, which represents
Great Tribulation. Daniel's three friends, representing Israel,
refuse to worship the image and are thrown into the furnace to
die. While in there
they encounter the Lord, are preserved through the judgment, and
are elevated to positions of honor in Babylon.
But where was Daniel? He was a prominent
figure both before and after chapter 3.
But in this episode his name was not even mentioned.
Did he worship the statue to escape judgment?
If you think that, you don't know Daniel.
Did he refuse to bow down but was not accused?
If you think that, you don't know his enemies. After all
they rounded up his three closest friends.
For the purposes of this story it's as if he has
In chapter 3, Daniel was a model of the Church, who
during the End times judgments will have disappeared altogether,
while Israel will be preserved through them, meet the Lord in
the midst of them, and be elevated to positions of honor in the
Isaiah Said It Best
But your dead will live;
their bodies will rise.
You who dwell in the dust,
wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of
the morning; the
earth will give birth to her dead.
Go, my people,
enter your rooms and
shut the doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has
See, the LORD is
coming out of his dwelling
to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her;
she will conceal her slain no longer. (Isaiah
Without a doubt this is the clearest statement
of the Lord's intentions for the Church anywhere in the Old
Testament. It can't
be tied to any event in history, but clearly awaits a future
fulfillment. And it can't be intended for Israel, whose
resurrection will come after the time of God's wrath, not before
it. (Daniel 12:1-2)
Some day soon a group of people will suddenly
rise from the dead.
Another group, still living, will be whisked away to rooms
prepared for them to be hidden from the time of God's wrath.
Then the Lord will punish the people of the Earth for
their sins. The fact
that the groups being resurrected and hidden are not
objects of his wrath is indicated by the switch from
second person (resurrected and hidden) to third person
how similar the wording is to 1 Thes 4:16-17 & 5:9,
Paul's teaching on the rapture.
But your dead will live;
their bodies will rise.
(The dead in Christ will rise first).
Go, my people, enter your rooms
and shut the doors behind you; (After that we who are
alive and left will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air)
It's appropriate to insert John 14:2-3
here as well to see what rooms Isaiah was talking about.
In my Father's house are many rooms; if
it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to
prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for
you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also
may be where I am.
This promise does not point to the 2nd
Coming when the Lord will come to Earth to be with Israel here,
where they are. This is a promise to the Church that He has gone
to His father's house to prepare our rooms for us.
Then He will come for us to take us there, where He is.
See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling
to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
(For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive
salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.)
I'm convinced this is the passage Paul had in
mind when he said “According to the Lord's own word, we tell
you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of
the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen
asleep.“ (1 Thes. 4:15). I say this because with the
exception of 1 Thes 4:16-17 there is no passage in all
the Bible that so clearly describes the pre-trib rapture of the
This is not the sum of Old Testament verses
that point to a pre-tribulation rapture.
But it's a good sample of the clearest ones, to help you
see that God always intended to take us to be with him before He
unleashes the End Times judgments upon the unbelieving Earth.
Next time we'll take a similar survey of the New Testament.
See you then. 01-30-10