In many scriptures of the Bible, there is a “falling away” or discussion of great deceptions that are coming to the world. It has been hard for believers in Christ to comprehend the possibility of the masses falling away from Christianity because faith has been a powerful part of society for nearly two millenniums, but we are seeing it today. Moreover, we are seeing the spreading of a seed that will cause further apostasy amongst believers in Yeshua as our Lord and Savior: the myth of a pre-tribulation rapture.
Most who have gone to church in the last hundred years have likely considered the possibility at the very least that the rapture of the church will occur before the tribulation that is spoken of in many books of the Bible, including the Book of Revelation. Some estimates put it at 90% of the Christian church believes in a pre-tribulation rapture. The vast majority of popular churches teach that believers will be called up to Heaven before the tribulation. Simply stated, the Bible does not support this claim.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Yeshua will come in the clouds and call up those who are believers. This will not happen prior to the tribulation. The sun and moon will be darkened, and then He shall return. The majority of churches that teach Imminency, the concept that Jesus will return at any moment and His people will be raptured at that time, point to one verse to counter the argument of signs that will precede His second coming:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
This is obviously a true statement. It is also one that is completely misunderstood. The fact that we nor anyone else can know the day or the hour does not mean that He can come at any time. Throughout the Gospels and the writings of Paul, we hear of things that must happen before His return. It is not for us to know the day or the hour, but the season will make itself very evident. We will see certain events occur. One of those series of events are known as the Great Tribulation.
Why It Is Believed
The simply answer when asking why so many people, even “educated” church leaders, is that we want to believe it. It’s human nature to want to avoid persecution, war, sickness, and beheadings, all of which are spoken of as parts of the tribulation. If someone of authority tells us that we will not have to go through these things as long as we believe, it’s a message that can resonate. Those who hear the truth, that we may be living in the end times and that as a result many of us will go through great suffering due to our faith – it’s just not as positive of a message.
The not-so-simple answer is that Satan is push this as part of his agenda. It is Satan the rules the earth. His goal is to pull as many people away from the faith as possible, which is why he and his minions began deceiving Christians at their core starting in the early 19th century with the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture. He has brought about and continues to bring about waves of deceptions to pull people away from even considering the Word of the Bible, but this particular deception is to attack those who are wanting to be strong in their faith. It’s designed to shake the spirits of the believers to the point of non-belief.
Think about it. If you make people believe that they are not going to face suffering, that they are “special” and will avoid all of the troubles that will engulf the world, then they are weakened as a result. They will not be ready. When the tribulation does begin and they’re still on this planet going through it, they will begin to question their own faith. They will not be prepared to fight against persecution. They will be more willing to be deceived in order to save their lives. They will be more open to deceptions of the Anti-Christ. They will be more likely to worship the false messiah to take his mark in order to buy and sell. They will see the formation of the one world government, the one world economy, and the single world leader and they will do so more willingly than those who have their eyes open.
This is arguably the greatest deception that Satan has pulled off thus far.
Why Churches Teach It
Building a church is not as black and white for most as it is for others. It’s much easier to build one with a happy message than to try to build one through promises of fire and brimstone, persecution and suffering. There are those sitting in the seats of church leadership who realize that a pre-tribulation rapture is not correct but they continue to preach it in fear that their congregation will shrink or disappear altogether if they go against the grain.
As with any man-made organization, the Christian church world has a “club” amongst the leaders. There are those who are in the club and those who are not in the club. Those who are in the club are able to speak at events, sell books, build up an online following, and prosper as a church. Those who are not in the club have a much harder time finding relevance in this world. Today, the club is made up of pre-tribulation rapture teachers. If you’re not preaching a pre-tribulation rapture, you can’t be in the club.
It’s a catch-22 for many. Not all do it because of ignorance or greed. There are those who teach it because they feel that a message that can resonate with more people is better than a message that alienates many. In other words, they realize that they are not teaching this particular issue properly but if they can misinterpret this one little point, they’ll be able to get the other important messages out to more people. It’s a misguided honorable sentiment that is actually more dangerous than not reaching the people at all. We believe there is a likelihood that many people will fall away in the last days, but others will open their eyes as well. If they open their eyes and start reading the Bible, they will see what they had missed their whole lives and will have an opportunity to head down the right path before it’s too late. If, however, they are weakened by expectations of a pre-tribulation rapture, it will be more difficult to bring them back to the truth.
Debating the Issue
It is sad when I read some of the assertions of those who continue to fight the truth of post-tribulation rapture. They are often excellent writers or orators fighting from a misguided perspective. For example, in the book Triumphant Return by Grant Jeffrey, he states:
Several incorrect premises have caused some to reject the pretribulation Rapture and accept the position called the “postribulation Rapture.” The first premise is an emotional contention that it would be unfair for the modern Church to escape to heaven scot free to escape the martyrdom that other believers have experienced.
In all of our studies of those promoting a post-tribulation rapture, I have never heard this premise before. It’s appalling that Jeffrey would lead with such a poor premise, as if trying to mislead the readers into believing that the post-tribulation doctrine is so weak that those who believe in it are emotional and ignorant simpletons. Below, you will see videos of people who have formed their doctrine based solely on the Word of the Bible, who make it crystal clear that a post-tribulation rapture is without a doubt the reality, and that the theory of a pre-tribulation rapture is damaging to those to which it is taught.
The Words of Jesus Christ should be the resounding end of any debate that He will return before the tribulation:
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.
There are other verses that also make it clear, but this is obviously the most specific. There are those who will say this is referring only to the Jews. There are those who will use charts and graphs to convince you of a pre-tribulation rapture. They will point to interpretations by Darby, Ephraem the Syrian, and Scofield as proof. Do not be misled.
Rather than point to the evidence or attempt to debate the concept, I will defer to a few people who have done more research on the subject than me. Please take the time to watch these videos and share this article. It’s important that believers are prepared for what’s to come. Whether it’s today or in a thousand years, we cannot allow people to be guided down a path that can lead them to be part of the falling away the Jesus spoke of in His ministry. We must open our eyes, see the truth, and spread it to all that we can.
Here are also some links to other articles about the pre-tribulation rapture:
- Exposing Why the Pre-Trib Rapture Doctrine will Deceive Many
- ‘But of that day and hour knoweth no man’ – Matthew 24 Study and the Implications for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture
- Open Your Mind About the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Deception
- They See a Pre-Trib Rapture Because They Want to See It
(This article is part of the Compassion and Fear Series)