18. Why a pre-tribulation Rapture ? (Part 3 of the Rapture series.)

We found from Scriptures that Rapture is not a myth but the truth because the concept of the righteous escaping the judgement of God has a strong Scriptural precedent. Infact Paul instructed the Church to encourage one another with these words: ‘According to the Lord’s own word … we who are still alive and are left will be caught up … in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Encourage each other with these words.’ ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18) We also found from Scriptures that this promise is for those who have entered into a blood covenant with God through the sacrifice of Jesus and have received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Now to conclude this exegesis, it would be encouraging to consider the three scriptural reasons for a pre-tribulation Rapture :-

1. Rapture will take place because the person of the Holy Spirit will not leave behind the Church, the bride of Christ in whom he took residence on the day of Pentecost, when he is taken out of the way for the man of lawlessness to be revealed. The only reason why the Antichrist is being held back from coming on to the world stage before the appointed time is because the person of the Holy Spirit is present on earth: ‘ … the day of the Lord … will not come until the rebellion (Greek: apostasia means turning away, rebellion)  occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction … you know what is holding him back so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.’ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7) The mission of the Holy Spirit can be  better understood from other parallels in Scripture. For instance, the Bible says that the physical presence of God prevented the Egyptian army from vanquishing the army of Israel on the banks of the Red sea, prior to the crossing over. ‘By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud … and by night in a pillar of fire … Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left it’s place in front of the people … The pillar of cloud moved from the front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.’ ( Exodus 14:19-20).  Likewise, the Holy Spirit stands in between the forces of darkness and of light and he has prevented the kingdom of darkness from vanquishing the Church. But the moment the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, together with the Church, this world will be subjected to Satan and he will set up his end time kingdom but it will last only for 7 years because God will judge his kingdom and will destroy it during the tribulation. Another parallel in Scriptures that reveals the mission of the Holy Spirit is the story of  Eliezar who was sent under oath by Abraham to find a bride for his son Issac and upon finding  Rebecca, she was entrusted to his care and he brought her safely to Isssac. ‘So the servant took Rebecca and left. Now Issac had come from Beer Lahai Roi … And as he looked up , he saw camels approaching. Rebecca also looked up and saw Issac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?” “He is my master,” the servant answered … Issac brought her into the tent … and he married her.’ (Genesis 24:61-67) The reason why the Holy Spirit wouldn’t leave behind the Church, the  bride of Christ, when he is  taken out of the way, is because he was entrusted with the bride of Christ and he has to take her to Christ who will come in the air to receive her, just as Issac came out to the fields to receive Rebecca. That is why the Scripture says that both the Spirit and the bride eagerly await the coming of the groom. ‘The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” (Revelation 22:17)

2. Rapture will take place because it would be the justice of God to the righteous: ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? … Be it far from you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike … Will not the judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:23-25) In all acts of judgement described in the Bible, we have never seen the righteous becoming victims of his wrath, ‘for God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

3.Rapture will take place because it would be the greatest witness to the world: What would the day be like when countless believers are found missing? The realisation of the truth will sink into the hearts of those who never believed and countless will believe and will turn to the Lord. Infact more Gentiles will be saved during the tribulation than now. ‘After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language … These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ ( Revelation 7:9-15) There is a interesting parallel in the book of Revelation about the response of the unsaved to the rapture of the two witnesses who can be said to be ‘dead in Christ’. ‘Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them,”Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that hour there was a great earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed … the survivors were terrified and gave Glory to the God of heaven.’( Revelation 11:12-13) yet there will be many who will refuse to repent of what they had done and glorify God but will curse him. (Revelation 16:9,11,21) The purpose of Pre-tribulation Rapture is not only to keep the righteous out of judgement but also to get the wicked to believe and repent. Amen.

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