Question: What are the different views of the Rapture of the church?
The four views on the rapture can be summarised as:
1. Pre-tribulation view
The rapture occurs before the 7 year tribulation period begins. Let’s look at what Jesus said in Rev 3:10:
“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.”
Here, Jesus refers to the tribulation period. If believers are to be saved from the tribulation, the rapture has to precede the tribulation! We will see some more evidence for this view later on.
2. Partial tribulation view
“Not all believers will be raptured, but only those who have some degree of spiritual attainment that makes them worthy.”
This makes the rapture a reward, not a privilege. The main problem with this view is that some Christians enter the tribulation which violates the other verses such as Rev 3:10 which clearly teach that believers will not enter the tribulation.
This view is not very popular these days.
3. Mid-tribulation view
“The rapture occurs at the middle of the 7 year tribulation period – Christ raptures church age believers in the middle of the tribulation, with the rapture of the two witnesses in Rev 11:12
serving as an example.”
One weakness is that the two witnesses are Jews who have come to minister to the Jews in Jerusalem, and not church age believers. Another issue is that this view overlooks the fact that Rev 4:1-3 shows the apostle John(a church age believer) being taken up to heaven as an illustration of the rapture of the saints.
4. Post-tribulation view
“The rapture occurs at the end of the 7 year tribulation period.”
This is the second most popular view – where Christ comes after the end of the tribulation, which means believers have to go through the tribulation and be raptured just before the glorious second coming of Christ.
There are many problems with this view:
- The most obvious one is that Jesus promised to keep believers from the time of trial (Rev 3:10). This promise would be broken if Jesus came after a large number of the church age believers were martyred.
- This leaves no time for the believers to visit the Father’s house, and no time for the judgment seat of Christ.
Recommended Resource: [amazon asin[us]=0310308909&asin[uk]=0310308909&text=Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology by J. Dwight Pentecost]
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