THE POSTTRIBULATION RAPTURE
Scriptural evidence that the rapture will occur after the 70th week of Daniel.
To explain my belief in the posttribulation rapture of the church, I have presented some contrasts between the pretribulation rapture and the posttribulation rapture postition. Later, more detailed reasons are given with several specific topics. On the first link (which is a continuation of this page), I give some answers to questions frequently asked of posttribs. Then, I present a detailed posttribulation rapture time line so that you can clearly understand how it all fits together. Recently, I added some questions to ask those who are posttrib but hold to the prewrath rapture position, and a discussion with two prewrathers who have responded to these questions. Next, you will find some answers to questions I have received about this page. These will be updated frequently and if you email a question to me, if it has not already been answered in this material and if it is an appropriate question, I may post it in this section.
Two other topics unrelated to the Posttribulation Rapture are discussed; some arguments for belief in eternal security, and some notes about who the sons of God are in Genesis 6. Links to all of these topics are found at the end of this article.
(The verse references are often easier to understand in the NASB and are presented so you can insert this article in your "ON LINE BIBLE" under edit note.)
The pretribulation rapture view requires the duplication of events that a posttribulation rapture position simplifies into one event. (The first of the two references given beside each event below is generally believed to occur before the 70th week of Daniel by pretribulationists. The second reference is generally regarded as occurring at a posttribulation time by both sides.) The same event is described in both passages, so pretribulationists must explain this duplication by saying that each of these events occur twice (a demonstration of the weakness of their position when contrasted with the posttribulation rapture position, which does not require such dubious duplications).
|Event||Pretribulation Rapture||Posttribulation Rapture||Bible Reference|
|Christ coming in the clouds||twice||once||#1Thes 4.17|
|Angelic involvement at His coming||twice||once||#1Thes 4.16|
|Resurrection of believers||Twice, with the second one called the "first resurrection"||once||#1Cor 15.52|
|Last trumpet sounds||twice||once||#1Cor 15.52|
|Saints are rewarded.||twice||once||#Rev 22.12|
|Believers are told to expectantly await His coming.||twice||once||#Titus 2.13|
|Christ's advent to innitiate the day of the Lord is illustrated as being like the coming of a thief.||twice 1||once||#1Thes 5.2|
|The sun is darkened, the moon is turned to blood (or darkened), the stars fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven are shaken (wonders in the sky or stars lose their brightness).||three times 1, 2||once||#Joel 2.30-31|
1 Most pretribs also believe the day of the Lord includes the entire 70th week of Daniel.
2 Before the 70th week, during the 70th week, and then after the 70th week
B. Specific topics
1. The day of the Lord
Because of the close connection in discussions of the rapture with the day of the Lord
#1Thes 5.1, 2Thes 2.2
most pretribs believe the day of the Lord immediately follows the rapture
of the church and thus believe it includes the entire 70th week of Daniel. ("The
implication is clear that the great judgments of the day of the Lord extend
over the entire great tribulation, even though all agree that they climax
at its end, as God imposes a final judgment on the nations." John Walvoord,
Here I have listed a few reasons why posttribs place the day of the Lord after the end of the 70th week of Daniel.
#Joel 2.30-31, 3.9-12
describes certain celestial events that will precede the day of the Lord.
describes these same events as occurring "immediately after the tribulation...".
places these events at the sixth seal. This indicates that the day of the Lord begins after the 70th week of Daniel.
b. Malachi prophecies that Elijah will appear before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.
After John the Baptist's death Jesus said, "Elijah is yet to come."
Most premillenarians hold that Elijah is one of the two witnesses mentioned in
Since these witnesses have their ministry during the great tribulation, the beginning of the day of the Lord would be placed at least in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel.
c. Paul describes two events that will occur before the day of the Lord in
(1) the apostasy and (2) the man of lawlessness who takes his seat in the temple of God is revealed. This second event occurs at the start of the great tribulation so again the beginning of the day of the Lord would have to be no sooner than the middle of the 70th week of Daniel.
d. Most pretribs have a problem with placing the day of the Lord at the end of the 70th week because they see it as a time of judgment. "A study of numerous Old Testament references to the day of the Lord and "the day," as it is sometimes called, should make clear to anyone who respects the details of prophecy that the designation denotes an extensive time of divine judgment of the world." (Ibid., p. 111.) But
explains that martyred saints must wait for judgment on their persecutors until the number of their fellow servants who are to be killed is complete. Thus, the last martyred saint is killed very near the end, if not on the last day, of the 70th week.
says the beast will have authority to act for 42 months (generally agreed to be during the great tribulation) and among his actions will be making war with the saints and overcoming them. Therefore, God's judgment will not fall on the world until after the great tribulation and the seals, trumpets, and bowls that occur during the 70th week will not contain judgment from God.
indicates that the day of the Lord is being held back in order to allow time for all who will repent to do so. People are apparently still being given a valid chance to repent (although they do not) as late as the fourth and fifth bowl. Their lack of repentance provides evidence that God is justified in bringing His judgment on the earth in the bowls of wrath.
2. Christ's return and the believers resurrection
a. Jesus taught that His return would be at the end of the 70th week of Daniel. In Matthew 24 and 25, He taught His disciples about the signs preceding His second coming and then described His coming as including (1) coming in the clouds, (2) gathering the elect, (3) angelic participation, and (4) coming with the sound of a trumpet. This list is similar to what occurs at the rapture. Thus, the disciples would logically identify any future teaching about a rapture with the only coming they knew about unless a different time for the rapture was specifically given. However, no such specific differentiation is taught nor is it necessary.
b. The disciples knew of a resurrection of Jewish believers after the great tribulation.
Jesus reinforced this belief by teaching about a resurrection of believers, which seems to have included the church, as occurring "on the last day".
"...everyone who beholds the Son, and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." The church is among those who "believe in Him". When the disciples heard these words, they must have applied them to the only resurrection they knew about the one after the great tribulation.
Further evidence that followers of Jesus knew about this posttrib resurrection is gained from Martha's statement in
"I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Thus the burden of proof for a pretrib return of Christ and a pretrib resurrection of believers lies on the pretrib. A posttrib return and resurrection had already been established. Unless another return and resurrection clearly distinguished from the posttrib event is taught in the Bible, we have no choice but to believe that the rapture occurs at the end of the great tribulation.
If pretrib is true, clear teaching had to come to change the minds of the apostles, teachers of the early church, about the timing of the resurrection of believers and the return of Christ. Appeal is often made at this point to
but the new truth or mystery is that the living will be changed without dying. "Behold I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed." Paul is stressing the fact that all believers will receive glorified bodies even if they are alive at Christ's coming. The Corinthians knew dead believers would receive glorified bodies because Christ and some Old Testament saints had been raised and glorified already. If the mystery was that we would be raised before the 70th week of Daniel, then this is still left a mystery. Paul didn't give a pretrib time for this event. In fact, he gave two posttrib time indications for this event. (See below on this passage.) Since the translation of the living is tied with the resurrection of believers and no pretrib time is mentioned, it would be natural for the Corinthians (and us) to place these events at the close of the great tribulation.
3. Specific scriptural indications that the rapture and resurrection of believers is posttrib.
There are clear time references associated with some passages on the return of Christ for the church. These time indications establish that event as being after the great tribulation and simultaneous with the second coming. In
Paul commends the Thessalonians for their perseverance in tribulations and then he tells them when to expect relief and revenge. "For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well (when does relief come?) when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire." In verse 7 he is saying God will relieve us who are suffering persecution at the second coming (certainly verse 7-12 makes it clear that this is at the end of the great tribulation). Then in the immediate context of a second coming relief and return, Paul starts chapter two by tying the second coming with our gathering together to Christ atthe rapture.#2Thes 2.1
Also notice that
mentions a coming that is clearly at the end of the 70th week, adding more evidence that the coming in 2:1 must be interpreted as being at the end of the great tribulation (unless verse 1 is taken completely out of context). Paul goes on to correct some false ideas by the Thessalonian believers. They seem to have thought the day of the Lord had come. (Not unreasonable considering all the persecutions and afflictions they had endured. They apparently knew tribulations would precede the day of the Lord.) They were excited, anxiously anticipating the soon return of Christ. Paul corrects this error showing them that two events will occur before the day of the Lord comes. (See above on the day of the Lord.) If pretrib is correct, Paul's description of events preceding the day of the Lord seems useless in correcting their error if the church will be in heaven when these events occur. Many pretribs believe the Thessalonians were distressed because they thought they had missed the rapture. This view is hard to accept since this information supposedly had come by letter from Paul who would also have missed the rapture!
Two other direct posttrib time references are given with the rapture and translation in
In verse 51-52 Paul says, "we shall all be changed...at the last trumpet...." The word "last" requires (1) a series of trumpets, (2) that this is the final trumpet in that series, and (3) that no other trumpets follow. (If millennial trumpets do occur, they are sufficiently separated temporally as to not be confused with this series of trumpets.) No other series of trumpets is mentioned and
says that with the events that occur at the seventh trumpet "...the mystery of God is finished...." From
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." and "the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Thy name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth" describe events that also occur at the rapture. Thus, it is most reasonable to place the rapture and translation of the church at the time of the seventh trumpet.
Paul says, "But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable then will come about the saying that is written, 'death is swallowed up in victory'." This quote is taken from Isaiah 25.8, so, looking at the context
"He will swallow up death for all time," comes from a posttrib setting (certainly removing the reproach of Israel does not happen while Gentiles trample on Jerusalem for 1260 days). Thus, this Old Testament prophecy, which is clearly posttrib, is fulfilled at the same time that we get our glorified bodies-at the second coming.
Two other arguments to consider submitted by Stephen L. Rice.
When (generally) will Jesus "restore the Kingdom to Israel?" I think all premills will say, at the beginning of the Millennium. (Any who refer to the beginning of the Tribulation may be shown the various passages in the prophets which clearly say that the restored kingdom will never suffer persecution again, which rules out the Tribulation.)
Now look at
Peter, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, tells the men of Jerusalem that Jesus must remain in Heaven (literally, that the Heavens must continue to hold Him or be His dwelling) UNTIL the times of the restoration of EVERYTHING. Now, EVERYTHING is restored only in the millennium, so Jesus will not leave Heaven until it is time for the millennium to begin. He will not descend from Heaven with a shout of command (etc.) until then. Can the Tribulation occur after this, as a pre-trib Rapture would require? Or the Trumpets and Bowls? No; no bad stuff follows the millennium (and therefore the Rapture), except for the judgement of the wicked.
A second argument from Stephen L. Rice
v. 18: Some kind of glory will later be revealed in us.
v. 19: The Creation (everything, including this planet) awaits our "revelation." (In context, probably that of the glory in us.)
v. 20: The Creation has been subjected temporarily to emptiness, but
v. 21: it will be freed from corruption and share in the freedom of the glory of God's children.
v. 22: (Reprise of 19) The Creation groans in anticipation of its deliverance.
v. 23: We likewise eagerly await our full adoption as sons of God and the redemption of our bodies (presumably in the Rapture/First Resurrection).
Conclusion: The reason the Creation is awaiting our bodily redemption (the Rapture) is that it will be redeemed from corruption at the same time (this is the gist of 19, 21-23).
Now, if the Creation has been freed from corruption and emptiness (that is, not fulfilling its original design) at the Rapture, how can it be subjected to plagues thereafter? Could the Bowls be poured out on a redeemed Earth? Presumably not. So the redemption of the Earth must occur after the Trumpets and Bowls. Yet it also occurs at the same time as our own redemption in the Rapture. So the Rapture cannot precede the Trumpets and Bowls either.
This argument submitted by Mike Betancourt.
is a famous proof text for the deity of Christ. There the Granville Sharp Rule of Greek Grammar equates Christ as being one and the same as God the Father. (The KJV makes it seem like there may be two different people coming.) Unknown to many is that this grammatical phenomenon occurs **twice** in this verse--once at the end proving the deity of Christ and once at the beginning. The blessed hope (pretribbers call the rapture) and the glorious appearing (appearing in glory or revelation--the 2nd coming on a pretrib scenario) are said to be one and the same event not two distinct events separated by a period of at least seven years.
To continue this discussion, click Pretrib objections to posttrib.
To view the time line, click Time line.
To view questions for the prewrath rapture position and a discussion with someone who believes in the prewrath rapture, click Prewrath rapture questions.
To view questions I've received on the subject of the posttribulation rapture and my answers to these questions, click Responses to questions. These will be updated frequently and if you email a question to me, if it has not already been answered, and if it is an appropriate question, I will post your question and my answer here.
To view reasons for belief in eternal security, click Eternal Security.
To view my opinion about who the sons of God in Genesis 6 are, click Sons of God.
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