The Pretribulation Rapture
What is the pretribulation rapture?
The pretribulation rapture is thought to be a secret rapture that occurs just prior to the appearance of the Antichrist and the expected seven year tribulation.
The idea is that Jesus will return secretly taking His people from the earth and out of harm’s way during the tribulation that will fall upon the remaining people who are alive during the days of Antichrist. It is believed that following the rapture of the righteous, the entire earth will be plunged into seven years of great tribulation, during which Anti-Christ will reign and exercise great power upon the earth.
People who believe in the pretribulation rapture use several texts to try and prove their conclusions, but these texts are falsely interpreted and are taken out of context.
It is not my intention to study these texts today as they have been well disqualified elsewhere on this site.
It is my purpose today to peel away at the foundations on which this doctrine is built, for it is contrary to one of the most important Christian doctrines that the Bible teaches, and that is that God has only one people.
This pretribulation doctrine relies upon the foundation that Jesus has separated His New Testament Church from Israel of the Old Testament.
And this is the foundation that we will undermine in today’s study: The foundation upon which the Bible is built is that Jesus is the head of “one body”, There is only “one woman”, and that woman is His bride, His Church. He is the shepherd of “one fold”, there is only “one city for all His people”, there is only one “marriage supper”, and in Romans 11 there is “one olive tree” which represents all God’s people.
The correct Biblical understanding of His people is that Jesus has one body composed of both Jews and Gentiles, both of which are Israel, spiritually speaking, for they have embraced Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and they are circumcised in the heart, and not in the flesh. This is not the literal Nation of Israel, the Israel that we find in the New Testament is spiritual, and it is composed of both Jews and Gentiles; that is “all Nations of the earth”.
And after we have confirmed this idea we will see more clearly that His people will remain on earth until after the tribulation period, which is when He returns to collect His people.
So Christ has only one body, and this body is composed of both Jews and Gentiles:
Not two mutually separable peoples.
Let’s begin by looking at Ephesians 2:13-18.
Note: those who are afar off are the Gentiles, It says: “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one…”
The, “both” that is spoken of here are the Jews and Gentiles, the Jews were near, and the Gentiles were afar off, and it says:
“…and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off,” (That is the Gentiles), “and those who were near (The Jews). For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
So the wall of enmity has been broken down as to create one new man from the two into one body through the cross. So Jesus has one body composed of Jews and Gentiles, both of which are Jews spiritually speaking, and are Gods true Israel as they have embraced Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
This idea of one spiritual body is confirmed in I Corinthians 12:13.
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles…”
And again in Galatians 3:7-8,
“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”
So it is by faith in Jesus Christ that all nations become children of Abraham. not just the Jews, and not just the Gentiles, it is all nations.
and now verses 26-29
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
And again in Colossians 3:11
“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”
So Jesus is the head of one body which is composed of people from all Nations who have accepted Him as Lord and Saviour.
There is only one woman, the Church, who is His Bride.
And His bride comprises His faithful people from all ages.
In prophecy a woman is symbolic of a church, a pure woman represents His true church, a corrupt woman is an apostate church.
In Revelation Chapter 12 we find a pure woman who is described as:
“…a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.” At this point in time the woman represents the Old Testament church because the child is not yet born, and then she bares the male child who is Christ “She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.”
After His crucifixion the woman then runs into the wilderness where she has a place prepared of God.
This is the same woman before the child is born; as it is after the child is born, it is not a different woman, and the garland of 12 stars before the child is born represents the 12 tribes of Israel, and after the child is born it represents the 12 Apostles, so this is clearly the same woman from the Old Testament period that we find in the New Testament period.
Therefore there is only one woman, or one church composed of Old Testament Saints, and New Testament Saints.
Jesus has one fold, and He is the shepherd.
“Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.”
Jesus is here talking to the Jews, and as Jesus was sent first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, then the other sheep would be the Gentiles.
“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
Reread Ephesians 2:13-18 to confirm the same idea.
So there will be one flock, and one shepherd, and His flock is composed of both Jews and Gentiles.
There is only One City: That is a Heavenly City
There is only one city for His people; there’s not an earthly city for the literal Jews, and a heavenly city for the church, there is only one city for both. Notice Revelation 21:2.
“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2
And the city that John saw coming down out of heaven has twelve gates that bear the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
“And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:” Revelation 21:12
And the wall of the City has twelve foundations which are named after the twelve Apostles.
“And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Revelation 21:14
So the City is represented by Old Testament Israel and New Testament Israel; and the twelve sons of Jacob and the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
This is not a literal Jewish City, this is the City of the Lamb and His chosen people, so it is spiritual Israel.
You see the Bible tells us that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob looked forward to a Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem, which was made by God, and not by men.
Notice here in Hebrews 11:9 which is speaking of Abraham:
“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:”
So it was by faith that he sojourned in this land, as in a strange country because he looked for a better place, whose builder and maker was God.
And it says in verse 10
“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
And then in verse 13 it says:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
So they never received the promise while they were alive here on earth, and they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims while they were alive on the earth.
“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16
So their desire was upon a better country; that had a City which was prepared for them by God.
And if we study Hebrews in its entirety we find that none of the patriarch or prophets, or any of those who died in faith ever received the promise, as we find that they all had faith in the Heavenly Canaan.
“For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain….By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death…By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance…By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed…These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth…By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph… By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel…By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents… By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter…By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not.., And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:1-40
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, for they desired a better country, that is, an heavenly, which has a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
The Olive Tree
This tree with its branches provides us excellent portrayal of true Israel, and this should be best understood in light of the promise that God made to Abraham and his Seed.
“…He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy (Abraham’s) seed, which is Christ.” Galatians 3:16
For the seed of Abraham is Christ, and so we are to understand that all who have put on Christ are included in Israel, and are to receive the inheritance, confirming once again that God has “one” people, made up of all Nations, both Jew and Gentile.
The Lord said to Abraham, after he had reached the land of Canaan, “Unto thy seed will I give this land.” If we but hold to the Scriptures we shall not have a moment’s difficulty in ascertaining who the seed is. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Gal 3:16 This ought for ever to settle the matter, so that there could be no dispute about it. The seed of Abraham, to whom the promise was made is Christ. He is the heir. But we also may be joint-heirs with Christ. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal 3:27-29
And let it not be forgotten that although there are many thousands included in the seed, there is only one seed, for they are all one in Christ, For it is Christ who is the Seed.
And so the Kingdom of Christ is illustrated by just one olive tree which bears good fruit. In Romans 11, this olive tree has several different types of branches, but they all belong to the same tree. There are natural branches that are retained in the tree; these branches represent people from the literal Jewish Nation who accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour, Peter James and John are examples of this type of person.
There are also natural branches which were cut off from the tree, these are those people of the Jewish nation who rejected their Messiah; Judas Iscariot for example. There are also natural branches that are grafted back into the tree, these represent literal Jews who at first rejected their Messiah, but then later accepted Him. Saul of Tarsus is an example of this type of person.
There are wild olive branches that are grafted into the tree, these represent the Gentiles who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and wild olive branches that could potentially be cut off from the tree. These are the Gentiles who have departed from Jesus, and abandon their relationship with Him.
And finally there are wild olive branches that are grafted back into the tree, these represent Gentiles who forsook Christ, and after pleading for mercy and forgiveness were again accepted back into the tree.
So how many trees are there? There is only one tree, and that tree is composed of both Jews and Gentiles.
The key is in verses 20 and 23 where we are told that to be a part of the tree means to believe in Jesus. To be cut off from the tree means to reject Jesus.
The root and the trunk of the tree symbolize Jesus, and if we are connected to the trunk and the root then we will bear fruit.
This passage is quiet long but I think we should read it so that we can see the picture that it portrays.
Paul is writing to the Gentiles in verse 17, and he says:
“And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off…”
So the reason that some of the branches were broken off was because of unbelief.
“…and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in…”
This picture is developing and it should be somewhat clearer now?
“…for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature…”
You see It is contrary to nature, because this is a Jewish tree. So when the wild branches are grafted into the Jewish tree, they become Jewish branches, they become Israel.
“For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.'”
And so ALL the people of God are included in the olive tree, and this idea is supported in Isaiah 11:1 and 53:2, where Christ is called the Root. “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots…For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground”
And some of the branches have been broken off “because of unbelief.” (Rom 11:17-20) It is the Root that makes the branches holy (verse 16), and therefore when the wild olive branches are grafted in, they partake of “the root and fatness of the live tree;” but they stand only by faith, and may be cut off if they are heedless. (Verses 16-22.) The branches which because of unbelief have been cut off, will be grafted in again, “if they abide not still in unbelief.” (Verse 23.) Thus we see that both Jew and Gentile according to the flesh stand in exactly the same relation to God. The Jew by nature, who is unbelieving, is separated from the Root, Christ Jesus being that root, while the believing Gentile by nature is joined to Him. But a failure to continue in the faith will result in the cutting off of the Gentile convert, while the Jew who has been cut off because of unbelief has the same privileges that the Gentile has, provided he is obedient to the faith. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Verse 25.)
So when God says that all Israel will be saved; what is the context, what does He mean “ALL” Israel?
He means “ALL” the branches on the tree, both the natural olive branches and the wild olive branches, that is all the people from all nations who accept Christ as Lord and Saviour, whether they be Jew or Gentile.
So there is only one tree that all His people will be cultivated into.
Blindness in part is the lot of Israel at present, because at present Israel exists only in part. Israel can be made full and complete only by the coming in of the Gentiles, that is, as many as will believe. When “the fulness of the Gentiles” has come in, then will that which is perfect be come, even the perfect day. “And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Verses 26, 27). Compare also Acts 3:24-26.)
Note the connection in verses 25 and 26. “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved.” That is to say, all Israel cannot be saved except by the bringing in of the Gentiles; which is the same as saying that prospective Israelites are now reckoned as Gentiles, but that in due time they will all come in; “and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.” “We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no not one.” “There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:9,10,22,23) But there is hope for all alike; “for God hath concluded them all in unbelief”–“shut them all up together in unbelief”–“that He might have mercy upon all.” (Romans 11:32)
The banquet table
There is only be one banquet table for ALL God’s people, notice in Matthew chapter 8 verses 11 and 12.
Jesus speaks these words.
“And I say to you that many will come from east and west…”
It is the Gentiles who have come from the east and the west, and the parallel passage in Luke 22 verse 30 says,
“and will sit down at My table.”
And continuing with Matthew 8 verse 11 and 12.
” And I say to you that many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom…”
(The sons of the Kingdom are the literal Jewish nation who did not accept Christ.)
And He said:
“But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
So Jesus has one banquet table composed of both Jews and Gentiles who have accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are going to be there, and there are going to be Gentiles who have come from the east and the west, and in Luke it says that they will come from the south and the north as well.
So they will come from all four directions of the earth; and in Matthew chapter 24 Jesus says that when He comes He will send forth His angels and they shall pick up His people from the four corners of the earth.
This will not be the literal Nation of Israel, it will be all of God’s people from all over the world who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
The Spiritual Temple
And there is only one spiritual temple. Notice Ephesians chapter 2 verses 19 through 22.
The apostle Paul is writing to the Gentiles and he says.
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets…”
In this verse we find the Prophets from the Old Testament, and the Apostles from the New Testament.
And continuing on it say
“…Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone…”
So who is the chief cornerstone of the spiritual temple? Jesus Christ; and the foundations of the church are the Old and the New Testament Apostles and Prophets?
And the text confirms in verse 21 that there is only one temple:
“…in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
And they will sing one song.
Notice in Revelation chapter 15 verses 3 and 4.
“They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints. Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.'”
This song is the song of Moses; the Old Testament, and the song of the Lamb; New Testament.
And so all God’s people are going to sing the same song.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” John 14:6
The Jewish Nations rejected their Messiah when they said they have no God but Caesar, and then they crucified Him. And then in harmony with the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27, after the stoning of Stephen the Gospel was sent to the Gentiles, and God also destroyed their literal temple in the year 70 A.D. as prophesied in Daniel 9:26.
So what are the conclusions that we can draw from what we have studied?
Preachers today jump from the Old Testament to the end times and totally bypass Jesus.
They say that God chose literal Israel unconditionally and irrevocably, and that all the promises that God made to literal Israel must be fulfilled with literal Israel, and literal Jerusalem in the literal temple with re-established literal sacrifices, with a literal personal antichrist sitting in the literal temple for a literal three and a half years.
And literal enemies will come from the literal north and the literal east wielding literal weapons to wage literal war against literal Jerusalem.
This is false prophecy as it is outside of Christ, it is not a Christ-centered interpretation of prophecy by any stretch.
This myth that God has two mutually separable peoples, and that these prophecies are going to be fulfilled literally with the literal Jews when the church is in heaven is a lie from devil.
It is a Christ-less interpretation of Bible prophecy.
And we need to know that prophecy is fulfilled only in Christ Jesus, and not in the literal Jewish nation.
And Jesus makes it plain for all to see in the parable of the Tares and the Wheat that His people will be on earth at the harvest. In Matthew 13:24-30 He says
“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matt 13:30
“Gather ye together first the tares”, So it is the tares that are taken first, the ones left must therefore be the ones who are saved into His barn.
Jesus explains this parable to His disciples in verses 38-43.
“The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:38-43
For the those of you who have a critical mind, you might want to consider that if the pre tribulation rapture were true, and there is a seven year tribulation, then those who are left behind will know when Jesus will return, and we ought to know that:
“of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matt 24:36) No, not even the Son (Mark 13:32)
So there is no pretribulation rapture as all His people are left on earth with the tares until the harvest at the end of the world.
Jacob’s experience during his night of wrestling and anguish represents the trial through which the people of God must pass though just before the second coming of Christ.
“The prophet Jeremiah, in holy vision looking down to this time, said, “We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. . . . All faces are turned into paleness. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:5-7).
But he shall be saved out of it: Those who are alive and remain faithful when Jesus comes will be protected in the tribulation as were Noah, Jacob, Daniel, and the three faithfull’s in the furnace.
Psalm 91 is a tribulation Psalm, and verse 10 says.
“There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Psalm 91:10
Just as the Israelite’s were protected when the destroying angel took all the first born of Egypt, so will God protect all those who have the seal of the Lamb in that day of trouble.
Isaiah chapters 24-27 have been called the little book of Revelation, or the little apocalypse.
Notice Isaiah 26:19-21.
” Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”
In the context of this study, the point of most importance from this text is:
“my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”
This text requires no interpretation as it is very clear that His people will be on earth during the tribulation when He punishes the wicked for their iniquity.
And the prayer of Jesus to His Father was.
“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” John 17:15
And in Revelation 3:10 Jesus indeed confirms that He will protect us from the effects of the tribulation.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
May God Bless you all.
Check out this page “One Taken the other Left” for further evidence of the false pretribulation rapture