Many Christians believe the Scriptures
teach that the Lord Jesus Christ will return to take His Church out of the world prior to the beginning of the great tribulation.
This belief is often referred to as the "pre-tribulational rapture doctrine". However, this doctrine does not agree
with many passages found in God's Word.
First, let us consider the fact that, according to the Scriptures,
a trumpet will herald the return of Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verses 16
16 For the Lord himself shall descend
from heaven with a shout, with the voice
the archangel, and with the trump of
God: and the dead in Christ shall rise
17 Then we which
are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in
the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:
so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with
1 Corinthians chapter 15 tells us
that the trumpet which will be sounded at our Lord's return will be a particular trumpet, the last trump.
1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 51 and 52:
51 Behold I show 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
incorruptible and we shall be changed.
Since Jesus will return at
the sounding of the "last trump", no more trumpets will sound after His return.
However, in verse 2 of
Revelation chapter 8 we are told at least seven trumpets will be sounded during the tribulation.
2 And I saw the seven angels that
before God; and to them were given seven
The first four of these seven angels sound their trumpets in
Revelation chapter 8, verses 7, 8, 10, and 12. The fifth and sixth angels sound their trumpets in Revelation chapter 9, verses
1 and 13. The seventh, and final angel to sound his trumpet does so in verse 15 of Revelation chapter 11.
15 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
Matthew chapter 24, verses 29-31 and Mark chapter 13 verses 24-27 also describe the return of Jesus Christ
and the gathering together of the elect.
Matthew chapter 24, verse 31 also refers to the fact that Jesus' return
will be heralded by the sounding of a trumpet. His angels will be sent forth "...with a great sound of a trumpet...".
This is significant because a previous verse, verse 29, states that this event will take place "...after the tribulation
of those days...". We know that this refers to the great tribulation because verse 21 says,
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not
since the beginning of the world to this time, no,
nor ever shall be.
So, the trumpet that will sound at the return of Jesus Christ will be the last trump to sound. There cannot
be another return of Christ and the sounding of another trumpet.
The First Resurrection:
Revelation chapter 20 verses 4 and 5 describe the "first resurrection".
Revelation Chapter 20
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that
were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image,
neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years
were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Notice that the first resurrection takes place after the tribulation saints have been
beheaded by the anti-Christ.
How can the tribulation saints be raised at the "first resurrection"
if there will be a resurrection prior to the beginning of the great tribulation? If there is to be a resurrection
of the saints before the resurrection of the tribulation saints, then the resurrection described in Revelation chapter
20 could not be the "first ressurrection".
Saints Will Be On the Earth During the Great Tribulation
The pre-tribulational rapture doctrine presumes that since the Church is not mentioned after Revelation chapter
3 that Jesus Christ will take the saints out of the world before the tribulation.
This key point
of the pre-tribulational rapture doctrine is based, not on what the Bible says, but on what it does not say. What the Bible
does say in the book of Revelation is, that saints will be on the earth dring the great tribulation. See Revelation chapters
13, 16, 17 and 18.
The word "saints" in these chapters of the book of Revelation is translated from
the same Greek word that is translated "saints" in the rest of the New Testament.
that there is a Pre-Tribulational "Rapture" Harmful?
The pre- tribulational "rapture"
doctrine says the believer will be taken to Heaven before the great tribulation begins. The problem with this belief is that
when the tribulation begins and the believer is still in this world, they might believe that Jesus isn't coming back after
all. The faith of many could be shaken to the very foundation.
Of course, if a person has truly believed in Jesus
Christ, though their faith may be shaken, they will still be saved because the foundation (Jesus) will remain.
greater danger of teaching the pre-tribulational "rapture" of the Church concerns the effect it could have on the
Consider the unsaved person who hears that the Church is to be "raptured" before the time
of the great tribulation and the implementation of the mark of the beast. They might conclude that Jesus Christ is not
going to return at all and be deceived into taking the mark of the beast.