The Church Will Not Go Through The Tribulation

                                                                            by Bruce Anstey                                                             Back

This treatise will confirm the Christian heart that the Church will not go into the seven year Tribulation prophesied to come upon the earth. No earnest Christian, regardless of his situation or degree of knowledge on this issue will be left behind at the Rapture. This is based upon a literal view of Scripture. "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.", and "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God....." (Prov. 30:5 and 1 John 5:1).---submitted by A. Herstad,
Before entering this subject it is necessary that the reader understand that there is going to be a period of seven years tribulation (Rev. 3:10, Dan. 9:27) to come upon the whole world before Christ appears (Col. 3:4, 2 Thes. 2:8 JND Trans., 1 Tim. 6:14, 2 Tim. 4:1,8, Tit. 2:13, 1 Pet. 1:7, 5:4, 1 Jn. 2:28, 3:2) to establish His Kingdom on earth called the Millennium. During this time of tribulation God is going to deal with this world on account of its rejection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But before the seven years of tribulation there is going to be the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:15-18, Jn. 14:2-3).
At the Rapture the Lord Jesus Christ will "descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God." (1 Thes. 4:15-18). The "shout" is to awaken the "dead in Christ." These are sleeping saints who have been redeemed in New Testament times. They will rise out of their graves to meet the Lord in the air. "In Christ" is a term which appears 48 times in Apostle Paul's ministry and refers to a position before God that is secure in the risen glorified Christ. Old Testament saints are not, properly speaking, "in Christ" although they are safe in glory. This is the first resurrection.* The "voice of the archangel" (Michael, Jude :9) is to awaken the sleeping saints who have died in faith in Old Testament times. Michael, the archangel, has not to do with the Church but with Israel and the saints of by-gone dispensations.** At the sound of his voice, the Old Testament saints will rise out of their graves and also partake in the first resurrection. Heb. 11:40, 12:23 ("the spirits of just ment made perfect"). The "trump of God" *** is what will close up this present dispensation with all believers who are alive on earth at the time of His coming being caught up together with the New and Old Testament saints raised from their graves to meet the Lord in the air.


* There are two resurrections in Scripture (Jn. 5:29, Acts 24:15). The "first resurrection" (Rev. 20:4-6), also called the "resurrection of life" (Jn 5:29) and the "resurrection of the just" (Lk. 14:14) is a resurrection of just persons only. This resurrection is referred to as the resurrection from "among the dead" (Phil. 3:11, Col. 1:18, JND Trans.) which implies a selection. All the dead do not rise simultaneously, but certain ones (the just) are selected out from among the others (the wicked). The first resurrection takes place in three phases: first, Christ the firstfruits, the sample of others that follow (Mt. 20:1-8, 1 Cor. 15:23), secondly, they that are Christ's at His coming (1 Thes. 4:15-18, 1 Cor. 15:23), then lastly, the saints that turn to God in the Tribulation and consequently be martyred are raised at the end of the seven years (Rev. 14:13). All who will partake in the first resurrection will enjoy a heavenly inheritance and will reign over the earth with Christ, (Rev. 5:9-10 JND Trans.). The second resurrection, also called the "resurrection of damnation" (Jn. 5:29), and the "resurrection of the unjust" (Acts 24:15) is a resurrection of wicked persons who have died without faith. They will be raised after the 1000 yeaer reign of Christ (Millennium). All raised at that time, whcich is the remainder of the dead, will stand before the great white throne of Christ to be judged according to their works of wickedness. All are cast into the lake of fire forever (Rev. 20:7,11-15).
** A dispensation is an arranged dealing of God during a specific period of time into which man has been set and tried in respect to obedience to some definite revelation of His will, i.e. In the days of Moses to Christ man was tested under law. In this present period man is being tested under grace, called "the dispensation of the grace of God" (Eph. 3:2). In the Millennium man will be tested under the personal reign of Christ without a tempter (Satan), called the "dispensation of the fulness of times." (Eph. 1:10). There are seven dispensations in all: Man in innocence (from the creation of man to his expulsion from the garden of Eden), Man under conscience (from the expulsion from the garden to the flood), Man in authority of government (from the flood to Abraham), Man under promise (from Abraham to the Law), Man under law (from the Law to Christ), Man under grace (from Christ to the Rapture), Man under the reign of Christ (from Christ's appearing to the end of the Millennium).
*** The trump of God, also called the last trump (1Cor. 15:52), is not to be confused with the last of the seven trumpets in Rev. 11: 15-18, which will be blown 7 years later at the end of the Tribulation when Christ will come forth out of heaven (the appearing) to take the kingdoms of this world. Nor should it be confused with the trumpet blast in Mt. 24:30-31, Isa. 27:13, which refers to the regathering of Israel by the angels after Christ's appearing. It is called the last trump because it is the last thing to take place in this present dispensation of grace.

 The bodies of the saints caught up to meet the Lord in the air will undergo a wonderful change. They do not exactly receive new bodies, but rather changed bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-52, Phil. 3:21 JND Trans. Job 14:14). Their bodies will be glorified like the body of the Lord Jesus Christ in resurrection. (Rom. 8:17, 28-30, Phil. 3:21). They will also experience a moral likeness to Christ as well as the physical change. This moral change in the saints has begun already while they are still on earth through the work of the Spirit of God, but then it will be complete. (Rom. 8:28-30, 2 Cor. 3:18, 1 Jn. 3:2). Their fallen nature will be gone and they will sin no more. (Heb. 11:40, 12:23 "made perfect" refers to the whole person - spirit, soul and body).

 The Spirit of God will also be taken out of the earth at the Rapture in the present capacity in which He is now functioning. Presently He abides on earth in the Church, His dwelling place. The Lord promised that the Spirit would never leave the Church once He had taken up His abode in it (Jn. 14:16, Acts 2:1-4). When the Church is called away to glory, He too will rise out of this world never to dwell in it again. (2 Thes. 2:6-7). This does not mean the Spirit will cease to work on earth, but hereafter He will work in the world from heaven as He did prior to Pentecost (in Old Testament times). He will continue to work in a diversity of actions, such as quickening souls, etc. (Rev. 1:4). From this time forward, the Bridgroom (Christ), the Bride (the Church), and the friends of the Bridegroom (Old Testament saints, etc.) will be together forever (1 Thes. 4:17, Heb. 11:40).

He and I in that bright glory,
One deep joy shall share,
Mine to be forever with Him,
His that I am there.

The Rapture should not be confused with the appearing of Christ. Although the Lord comes out of heaven on both occasions, the Rapture and the appearing of Christ are distinctly different. The Rapture is when the Lord comes FOR His saints (Jn. 14:2-3) - at the appearing of Christ, He comes WITH His saints (which were taken to glory at the Rapture)(Jude :14, Zec.14:5). The Rapture could take place at any moment - the appearing of Christ will not happen til about 7 years after the Rapture. At the Rapture the Lord comes SECRETLY, in a twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15:52) - at His appearing He comes PUBLICLY, and every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7). At the Rapture He comes to DELIVER THE CHURCH (1 Thes. 1:10 JND trans.) - at His appearing He comes to DELIVER ISRAEL(Ps. 6:1-4). At the Rapture He comes IN THE AIR for His Church because they are His HEAVENLY people (1 Thes. 4:15-18) - at His appearing He comes BACK TO THE EARTH (the Mount of Olives) for Israel because they are His EARTHLY people (Zec. 14:4-5). At the Rapture the Lord gathers His saints HIMSELF (1 Thes. 4:15-18, 2 Thes. 2:1) - at His appearing He SENDS HIS ANGELS to gather the elect of Israel (Mt. 24:30-31). At the Rapture He takes the believers OUT of this world and LEAVES THE WICKED BEHIND (Jn. 14:2-3). At the Rapture He comes to deliver His saints (the Church) FROM THE WRATH to come (1 Thes. 1:10) - at His appearing He comes to DELIVER THE WRATH (Rev. 19:15). At the Rapture He comes as the Bridegroom, to receive His bride, THE CHURCH (Mt. 25:6,10) - at His appearing He comes as the Son of Man in judgment upon HIS REJECTORS (Mt. 24:27-28). At the Rapture He comes as the "Morning Star" which rises JUST PRIOR TO daybreak (Rev. 22:16) - at His appearing He comes as the "Sun of Righteousness", which IS daybreak (Mal. 4:2). At the Rapture He comes WITHOUT ANY SIGNS, because the Christian walks by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7) - at the appearing His coming will be SURROUNDED BY SIGNS, because the Jews seek a sign (Lk. 21:11,25-27; 1 Cor. 1:22). The Rapture is never referred to in Scripture as a "thief in the night." The Lord's coming as a "thief in the night" is the APPEARING of Christ (1 Thes. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10; Mt. 24:43; Rev. 16:15; Rev. 3:3).

 Most of the confusion on the subject of whether the Church will pass through the Tribulation or not arises from not carefully and prayerfully reading the Scriptures. This can all be settled when there is a simple submission to the Word of God. We now give several points from the Scriptures that confirm the truth that the Church will not go through the Tribulation.


The Tribulation is Never Spoken of in Application to the Church.

There are eight main passages that directly speak of the Tribulation to come. They are: Mt. 24:3-29; Mk. 13:4-24; Rev. 3:10; 7:14-17; Deut. 4:30-31; Jer. 14:8, 30:4-7; Dan. 12:1. In Mt. 24 and Mk. 13 the Lord is speaking to His Jewish disciples which represent the Jewish believers (the remnant) in the coming Tribulation. Rev. 3:10 speaks specifically of the Tribulation coming to try the world, but not the Church. In Rev. 7:14 it is Gentiles. In Deut. 4:30-31 and Jer. 14:8 it is the children of Israel (Deut. 4:1). In Jer. 30:4-7, it says "Jacob's trouble" (the Tribulation) is concerning Israel and Judah. In Dan. 12:1, it says twice that the time of trouble will be upon "the children of thy people." DANIEL'S PEOPLE WERE JEWS FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH. (In) each of these references the Church is not once mentioned. This shows the Tribulation has not to do with the Church, but rather with Israel and the world. This fact alone should be enough to convince any willing mind the Church will not go through the Tribulation.


 The Outline of the Book of Revelation.

By getting a simple outline of the book of Revelation we learn several points that clearly show that the Church will not be on earth when the Tribulation judgments are poured out. There are three general divisions to the book given in chapter 1:19.

"The things which thou HAST SEEN"

refers to what the apostle John saw in chapter 1.

"The things which ARE"

, refers to chapters 2 and 3, namely, the addresses to the seven Churches, being a moral history of the Church on earth from the apostles' time to the last days.

Then lastly, "the things which SHALL BE HEREAFTER"

refers to chapters 4:1 to 22:21, wherein the Tribulation judgments are described. This third division is called "hereafter" because it deals with things which will take place after the Church period. It is instructive to see that after chapters 2 and 3, a door in heaven opens and John is called "up hither" (Rev. 4:1). This is a little picture of the Church being called away to heaven after it has finished its course on earth, by the coming of the Lord (Rapture). From chapter 4 to the end of the book the Church is no longer seen on earth. When the Tribulation judgments are poured out in chapters 6 to 19, the Church is not once mentioned.

 Those who will be martyred for their faithfulness to God during the Tribulation show by the character of their prayers that they are not Christians (Rev. 6:9-10). Firstly, the way in which they address God as "Sovereign Ruler" (JND Trans.) clearly shows it is not Christians praying. Christians address God as Father (Eph. 1:2; Col. 1:2). Secondly, they pray for vengeance upon the earth-swellers who have persecuted them. This is right and proper for a Jew (i.e. the impreccatory Psalms) but surely not the attitude of a Christian. The Christian blesses those who curse him and prays for them who despitefully use him (Lk. 6:27-28), but does not invoke judgment upon his persecutors. (Rom. 12:19-21.

 In chapter 7 we are told who will come out of the Tribulation in the end. The elect of Israel (vs. 1-8), and a great multitude of Gentiles (vs. 9-17) will be spared, but there is no mention of the Church among the number. The Church does not come out of the Tribulation because it never goes into it. The Church goes up (chapter 4:1) before the judgments begin.

 Notice also when the Church is seen on the earth in chapters 1-3, the expression is repeated many times, "he that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." But after the Church is taken out (chapter 4:1), when the Tribulation is going on, the phrase "what the Spirit saith unto the Churches" is purposely dropped. It only says "If any man have an ear let him hear" (chapter 13:9). The obvious reason for this is that the Church is considered as already taken out. It is no longer addressing the Church because the Church is no longer on earth.

 Then finally, in chapter 19:11-21 at the end of the Tribulation, we see the Church with all the host of heavenly saints coming out of heaven with the Lord in war. If they were not taken up earlier, how did they get up there to come down with the Lord? This shows they had to have been taken up earlier, and the only reference to anything like that in the book is in chapter 4:1, which is before the Tribulation judgments fall. Besides, if all the believing saints are taken up at the end of the Tribulation, who will be left to populate the Millennial earth? With the wicked sent away into everlasting punishment, the earth would be left empty of people! (For we know the saints caught up to be with the Lord in the air do not come back to live on earth. They reign over the earth in the high places - "eternal in the heavens." Rev. 5:10; Dan 7:22,27 JND Trans.; 2 Cor. 5:1).


The Church's Deliverance is Different from that of Israel's.

In Rev. 3:10 (JND Trans.) the Church is promised that it will be saved OUT of the coming hour of trial. The next verse (vs. 11) shows how - "behold I come quickly" - that is, by the coming of the Lord (Rapture). No such promise is made to Israel. Israel on the other hand is spoken of as being saved IN the time of trouble. (Jer. 14:8). God will graciously preserve a remnant of them through the Tribulation who will go into the Millennium to enjoy blessing on earth.


1 Thes. 1:9-10 JND Trans.

The Church is promised to be saved from the coming wrath by the coming of their Deliverer, Jesus Christ. There is wrath coming upon this world. It is the judgment that will fall in the Tribulation. This wrath is ten times mentioned in the book of Revelation. Chapter 6:16,17; 11:18; 14:10, 19; 15:1,7; 16:1,19; 19:5. Notice all references are after Rev. 4:1, where the Church is seen as taken to heaven, again showing the Church will be gone before the wrath is poured out). The Christian, however, has been promised to be saved from this wrath by the Lord Jesus Christ, their Deliverer. He will come to deliver them from it before it falls. (See also Rom. 5:9).


1 Thes. 5:9-10

Here again we are told, "God has not appointed us to wrath (the judgment that will be poured out in the Tribulation), but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." This salvation we are promised to obtain is not the salvation of our souls, for that we have already. It is the salvation* of our bodies (Rom. 5:9; 8:23-25; 13:11; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 9:28; 1Pet. 1:5; 1 Thes. 5:9). We receive this part of our salvation when the Lord comes for us (Rapture) Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:51-56.


* There are THREE aspects of salvation (2 Cor. 1:10). The salvation of our souls (1 Pet. 1:9; Heb. 10:29; Acts. 2:40-41), the salvation of our life (Rom. 5:10; Heb. 7:25), and the salvation of our bodies (Rom. 5:9; 8:23-25; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 9:28; 1Pet. 1:5; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thes. 5:9). We receive the salvation of our souls when we believe the gospel. Our lives are saved daily from falling into things that dishonour the Lord in the measure in which we are cast upon Him for help, but our bodies will not be saved until He comes. It is possible to have a saved soul but a lost life. Lot is an example of this. (2 Pet. 2:7-8).


1 Thes. 4:15 - 5:11*

The Apostle Paul again clearly puts the Rapture (chapter 4:14-18) as taking place before the time of Tribulation, when "peace and safety" (chapter 5:1-3) will be promised by the Beast, the revived Roman Empire. More than this, a careful look at the passage will show that those caught up at the Rapture are looked at as being a different class of persons than those who pass through the Tribulation as indicated by the change from "we" and "us" to "they" and "them". Paul put himself among those who might be on earth when the Lord comes (Rapture), but he clearly show he would not be on earth during the Tribulation.


* It is to be remembered that the chapters and verses in our Bibles, have been put there by men and are not divine as is the text. "Chapter 5" unfortunately has been put right in the middle of the subject and breaks up the thought in the passage. The verses in chapters 4 and 5 go on together as one subject.


2 Thes. 2:1-5

Again the Apostle Paul puts "the coming of our Lord and our gathering together unto Him," (the Rapture), as happening BEFORE the rise of Antichrist in the Tribulation. The order is simple. There is first a CATCHING AWAY (vs. 1) of the Church, then a FALLING AWAY (vs. 3-4) of Christendom after "the man of sin" (Antichrist). The Thessalonian saints were passing through persecutions for their faith in Christ (2 Thes. 1:4-5). False teachers had come in among them (vs. 2) teaching that the day of the Lord and the judgment connected with it was at hand. This teaching spoiled their joy and troubled their minds as they thought of all the horrors to come. This caused Paul to write this second epistle and expose the evil teaching. Paul told them that the Day of the Lord could not be upon them because two things must necessarily happen first; the man of sin (Antichrist) must be revealed, and a falling away of the world after him. The day of the Lord is not the Rapture. It is a day of judgment that begins at the appearing of Christ at the end of the Tribulation. It is the time when the Lord will publicly intervene upon the ways of man asserting His universal power and authority over both the heavens and the earth, subduing all things to Himself. The day of the Lord will continue for one thousand years, which will be the whole period of Christ's reign in the Millennium (2 Pet. 3:8-10).


 2 Thes. 2:6-12

These verses also show this same truth from another perspective. The course of evil in this world today is being restrained from reaching its culmination by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit on earth. But when the Spirit of God will be "taken out of the way" ("be gone" JND Trans.) at the Rapture,* then and only then, will the Wicked (or Lawless) one, Antichrist, arise and lead away many in the Tribulation. The order again is simple. There is first a TAKING AWAY (vs.7) of the Spirit at the Rapture, then a LEADING AWAY of many by Antichrist in the Tribulation.


* Some may ask the question, "How do we know when the Spirit will be taken out of the way?" We believe it is evident by the following three Scriptures that it is at the Rapture. Jn 14:16-17. The Lord promised His disciples on the night of His betrayal that when the Spirit of God came to take up his abode in the Church (Acts 2) it would be forever. When the Church is called out of this world at the Rapture the Spirit of God will go also because the Lord has said He (the Spirit) would never leave them. This is also seen in the book of Revelation. In the first three chapters, when the Church is viewed as on the earth, the Spirit is seen over and again speaking to the Church. But after chapter 4:1-2, when the Church is typically seen as taken out of the world, the Spirit is not mentioned again until chapter 14:13 and 22:17, which are after the Tribulation.
 Also compare chapter 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22 with chapter 13:9 - notice the marked absence of the mention of the Spirit. Again this is seen typically in Gen. 24 where a bride (the Church) is sought for Isaac (Christ) by the servant (the Spirit of God). Once the bride had been secured by the servant, he took her all the way home to Isaac who was waiting for her. As the servant went home with the bride, so will the Holy Spirit go home with the Church when the Lord comes. This does not mean the Spirit of God ceases to work on earth. He will continue to work in the earth from heaven as He did in Old Testament times quickening souls, etc. but when the Church is called out of this world, the Spirit will no longer be resident in the earth.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


1 Cor. 15:23-24

"Christ the first-fruits, afterward they which are Christ's at His coming, then cometh the end." Notice the order: Christ raised first, followed by those who are His at His coming (Rapture), "then cometh the end." "The end" takes place after the Lord's coming for His own (Rapture). "The end" is a general term that refers to everything that is to come to pass at the end of the age. This, of course, includes the Tribulation. (See Mt. 13:39; 24:3-14; Dan. 11:40; 12:4,8,9,13). The Lord's people are removed at His coming before the end comes with all its judgments.



Those who are told to flee in the Tribulation are Jews, not Christians. If Christians are to pass through the Tribulation why is there not a single direction given to them in the epistles, or anywhere in the Bible to prepare for it? Does God only care for the Jews? Surely not! The obvious answer why there are no directions for Christians concerning the Tribulation is because Christians do not go through the Tribulation. The fact that Christians are not mentioned in the Tribulation would show that they have already been taken to glory prior to it. It's true, thousands will turn to God and believe in that time (Rev. 7:9-17), but they are not called Christians. A Christian is one who has been called out of this world to spend eternity with Christ in heaven above. Those who get saved in the Tribulation will enjoy blessing on earth under the reign of Christ.


The Fact that the Gospel of the Grace of God Will Not be Preached in the Tribulation Show the Rapture Will Have Taken Place.

The Character of the Gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) now preached and that of the Gospel of the Kingdom* (Mt. 4:23) that will be preached by those in the Tribulation is entirely different. They are two distinct gospels preached for two distinct purposes. The Gospel of God's grace calls people out for heaven, the Gospel of the Kingdom calls people for blessing on earth. The gospel God is sending out today holds out a heavenly hope, calling and destiny for all who believe (Col. 1:5; 1Pet. 1:4; Phil. 3:20; 2 Cor. 5:1-2; Heb. 3:1), whereas the gospel of the Kingdom that will be preached in the Tribulation holds out an earthly blessing with Christ in the Millennium (Mt. 24:14, Rev. 14:6-7; Ps. 96). There is, however, no mention of the gospel of God's grace being preached in the Tribulation. The reason for this is that the Rapture, which is the way the saints who have believed the gospel of God's grace are translated into their heavenly portion, will have taken place. Heaven will no longer be held out to those who turn to God in that day. Hence that gospel will not be preached. God surely will not send out two entirely different gospels at the same time. It would be confounding heavenly and earthly people with their respective hopes and destinies. It would be pure confusion! People could choose which gospel they wanted to believe! Those who will be sincere in that day would probably believe both! Then what would be their portion? All distinction is lost and confusion would reign.


* The gospel of the Kingdom announces the good news of the Kingdom promised in the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Sam. 7:16; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:9-27) being at hand. It was preached by John the Baptist (Mt. 3:1-2), the Lord (Mt. 4:23), and by the disciples (Mt. 10:7). Their preaching was to call the nation of Israel to repent and to recieve the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would establish the Kingdom. But Israel rejected the King and consequently forfeited the opportunity of having the Kingdom set up in power and display. When Israel rejected their King, the preaching of this gospel of the Kingdom was postponed. The Kingdom was no longer offered to them. God instead has sent out the gospel of the grace of God to the Gentile world in this present day (Acts 13:44-48; 15:14; Rom. 11:11) calling them out for heaven. The gospel of the Kingdom, however, will be preached again by the godly Jewish remnant after the Church has been taken home to glory. God will then pick up His dealings with Israel where He left off long ago, Israel will be saved (that is, the elect among them), and the Kingdom will be brough t in by power. (Rom. 11:26-27).


The Church is not in Prophecy.

Prophecy, properly speaking, has not to do with the Church but with Israel and the nations that will pass through the Tribulation into the Millinnium. Hence prophecy is not being fulfilled today while the Church is on the earth. It is a sad misunderstanding of prophetic Scripture when Bible students try to correlate events happening today (that is, in the Church period) with events in Daniel and Revelation etc., supposing they are being fulfilled. Daniel's seventy weeks (Dan. 9:24-27) clearly show that the clock of prophecy has been stopped at the 69th week with the Jews cutting off their Messiah in death. There are still seven years (the 70th week) yet to be fulfilled of this prophecy; but until that time, while prophecy is stopped, God has brought in the Church (Eph. 3:3-6; Rom. 11; Acts 15:14). To make out that the Church is going to be on earth when prophecy will again be fulfilled in the Tribulation, is to misunderstand this important point and to put the Church in prophecy of which it has no part.


There are also many Old Testament types which teach the truth of the Church being taken out of the world before the Tribulation. To teach othewise would spoil these beautiful pictures. We now give some of these types that confirm this truth.


Enoch and Noah (Gen. 5:21-9:17).

Enoch is a well-known type of the Church. He walked in fellowship with God and warned the world of coming judgment (Jude 14-15). Enoch had the distinction among the patriarchs of not seeing death. He was instead translated to heaven, being a picture of the Rapture of the Church. Enoch was translated to heaven before the flood came. After he was taken, God brought the flood upon the world, which is a foreshadow of the judgment to come in the Tribulation (2 Pet. 3:3-10; Lk. 17:26-27). Noah and his family who passed through the flood in the ark are a picture of the godly Jewish remnant that will be preserved by God in the Tribulation.


Abraham and Lot (Gen. 18-19).

Abraham dwelling on the mountain enjoying fellowship with the Lord is a picture of the heavenly minded believer living in communion with God. Lot absorbed in things of Sodom is a picture of the worldy minded believer living with his interests in this world. God was about to pour out judgment upon Sodom, but He would not until Lot was first taken out of it. The angel said, "Haste thee, escape thither, for I cannot do anything will thou be come hither." Judgement is coming upon this world, too, in the Tribulation, but God will not allow one stroke to fall until He has first taken every true believer out of it just as He took Lot out of Sodom before it was judged.


Leah and Rachel (Gen. 28-30).

Jacob sent forth by his father, is a picture of God, the Father sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ into this world. "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." (1 Jn. 4:14). Jacob went forth from his father's house for two reason: firstly, on account of sin (Gen. 27; Heb. 9:26), and also to secure a bride for himself (Gen. 28:15; Eph. 5:25). When Jacob came into the far country he saw Rachel, who is a type of Israel, in the field and desired to have her for himself. Jacob agreed to purchase her through his own person toil, which is a prefigure of the work the Lord Jesus Christ would accomplish on the cross in order that He might have a bride. When it came time for Jacob to receive Rachel, Laban treacherously deceived him so that he did not get her, but Leah instead. God allowed this to happen to Jacob that we might have this marvelous foreshadow of His ways with Israel and the Church. Leah is a type of the Church. After Jacob was given Leah he later received Rachel. This tells the story of God's dispensational ways; when Israel would not be brought in, God has brought in the Church instead in order that his Son might have a bride (Acts 15:14; Rom. 11). After the Church will be called away to glory (Rapture) the Lord will receive Israel (Isa. 54:5-6; 62:4-5; Hos. 2:16).

 So Jacob had two brides. Leah (typical of the Church) was received first even though he made his advances toward Rachel (typical of Israel) first. While Leah's womb was open and bearing children, Rachel's womb was barren (Gen. 29:31). This answers to the present day; while the Church has been bearing fruit to God, Israel has been barren (Is. 54:1; Mt. 21:19-21). The point for us to see in this is that Leah had all seven* of her children before Rachel passed into travail (Gen. 30:22; 35:16) to bring forth her children. Rachel's travail is a picture of Israel's future trial in the Tribulation (Isa. 66:7-8; Jer. 30:6-7; Mic. 4:9-10; 5:3; 1 Thes. 5:3). Leah was finished bearing before Rachel's travail began! So the Church also will finish its course and time of bearing fruit on earth (every last soul will be saved to form the Church) before Israel (the Jews, really) will pass into their travail in the Tribulation.


* Seven is the number of completeness. (editor's note: "Seven" is also the number of divisions in Rev. chapters 2 and 3 denoting the Seven Churches, which forshadow the Church age.)


Joseph and Asenath (Gen. 37-50)

Joseph (or Zaphnath-paaneah, meaning "Saviour of the world" see JND Trans. footnote in Gen. 41:45) is another well-known type of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was rejected by his brethren (Gen. 37) who are typical of the Jewish nation and carried abroad among the Gentles (Gen. 39-41). After he was carried among the Gentiles to Egypt, there was a period of blessing in that land followed by a time of famine. During the time of famine Joseph's brethren were restored to him. The time of blessing answers to this present dispensation of grace and the time of famine answers to the period of Tribulation that will come upon this world. It is instructive to see that Joseph, during the time of plenty while he was estranged from his brethren, recieved a Gentile bride, Asenath (Gen. 41:45). Asenath is a type of the Church. She was trought into his house to share his royal place upon the throne in Egypt before the seven years of fanime began. So also the Church will be brought home to glory with Christ before the time of Tribulation comes upon this world. During the time of famine, Joseph worked to restore his brethren to himself (Gen. 42-45). So Christ will deal with Israel in the Tribulation to restore them to Himself.


Moses and Zipporah (ex. 1-12).

Moses is another type fo the Lord Jesus Christ. He was God's appointed deliverer (Ex. 3:10; Acts 7:35) for the children of Israel who were at that time under the tyrannical bondage of Pharaoh in Egypt. Moses yearned for his people and longed that they might be delieverd. When he came to them, the slew one th their Egyptian oppressors, showing his desire was to vanquish their enemy, and lead them out of the bondage. But his efforts were all misunderstood by his brethren who said to him, "Who made thee a ruler and judge over us?" (Acts 7:35; Ex. 2:14). They rejected him. So Christ also when He came to deliver His people from the power of sin and Satan, they rejected Him too (Jn. 1:11). They said, "We will not have this Man to reign over us." (Lk 19:14).

 Being rejected, Moses fled from his people into the land of Midian (Ex. 2:11-4:19). In the time of this estrangement from his brethren, he received a Gentile bride named Zipporah (Ex. 2:21). She is another type of the Church which is geing brought in today from the Gentile world by the gospel (Eph. 5:25-32; Acts 15:14; Rom. 11:11). Zipporah bore Moses a son, and they named him Gershom which means "a stranger here." This speaks of the character the Church is to have in this world as strangers and pilgrims (1 Pet. 2:11). Moses received his Gentile wife before the judgment (10 plagues) began to fall uon Egypt. So Christ will have His bride, the Church with Himself in glory before the Tribulation judgments begin to fall upon this world.

 After many years God sent Moses back to the children of Israel (Ex. 3:10; 4:19) who were still struggling under the yoke of their Gentile oppressors (a type of the times of the Gentiles, Lk 21:24). Moses obeyed the command of God and returned to Egypt and began to show himself to his brethren, the children of Israel, who had once rejected him. This is a foreshadow of the Lord resuming His dealings with the nation of Israel after He has taken His bride, the Church to heaven. When Moses returned to his brethren in Egypt, God began to pour out judgment upon that land in the way of ten plagues (Ex. 7-12:36). God miraculously preserved Israel in the midst of all the judgments which became signs of confirmation to them that God was working on their behalf (Ps. 78:43;l 105:27; Ex. 7:3; 8:22-23). This answers to the Tribulation period when God will pour out His wrath upon this guilty world (Egypt) but at the same time preserve alive the godly remnant of Jews. But where was Zipporah all the while the judgments were falling on Egypt? She was not in the land! Moses had sent her back to the land of Midian before the judgments came forth from God (Ex. 18:1-2). She is not once mentioned during the plagues. Zipporah did not appear on the scene until after all the judgments had fallen on Egypt and the children of Israel were delivered. The Church will also see no part of it. The Church will not appear again until the Tribulation is over and the Lord comes to display His bride to a wondering world in the Millennium (2 Thes. 1:10).


The Judgment of Jericho (Josh. 2-6).

The sentence of judgment was pronounced upon Jercho and the people of Canaan (Ex. 23:27). Before the judgment fell on that city, God provided a way of shelter under the scarlet line for all in it who had faith (Josh. 2). This typically fortells the story of the judgment that is about to fall upon this guilty and doomed world (Acts 17:31; 2 Thes. 1:7-9). God in mercy has also provided a shelter for this world under the blood of Christ. In chapter 6, the judgment fell on Jericho as God promised. But before it happened, Joshua first brought the long wilderness fourney of the children of Israel to an end (Josh. 3-5) by bringing them into the promised land of Canaan. Before judgment falls upon this guilty and doomed world the Lord Jesus Christ, like Joshua, is also going to bring the Church's long wilderness journey in this world to and end by descending with a shout and calling them into heavenly Canaan. The strokes of divine judgment that are going to fall upon this world in the Tribulation wil not take place until the people of God (the Church) have been first ushered into their heavenly portion above.

 There is another picture in the story of Jericho's fall that also shows out this same truth. There was a shout (Josh. 6:16) that took place before the walls fell down flat.* This reminds us of the shout we are waiting for (1 Thes. 4:15-18), when the Lord will come for us and call us out of this world. Again, notice the shout took place before the city was judged, and the shout at the Rapture will also take place before judgment comes upon this guilty world in the Tribulation.


* It is remarkable that the walls of Jericho fell at harvest-time. (Josh. 3:15). The judgment of this world is also called a harvest. Compare Mt. 13:39-42; Rev. 14:15-20; Joel 3:9-


In effort to be a help to any who may have had difficulty on this point, we have selected the three main Scriptures that have led many to believe the Church will go through the Tribulation. In each of the passages our desire is to show, with the Lord's help, how the error has occured and what the true meaning is. We believe that most of the confusion on this point has arisen from not carefully and prayerfully reading the Scriptures. Now let us look at the examples:

 "Be not shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of the Lord ("Christ", KJV) is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." (2 Thes. 21:2-3). This has been taken to mean that the day the Lord comes for His Church will not take place until Antichrist and the Tribulation have come.

 This is in error for two reasons. First, it is a great mistake to suppose the day of the Lord is the Rapture. The day of the Lord is a day of judgment which begins at the appearing of Christ, approximately seven years after the Rapture, at the end of the Tribulation. It is the time when the Lord will publicly intervene upon the ways of man asserting His universal power and authority over both the heavens and the earth subduing all things to himself. It will extend for one thousand years (2 Pet. 3:8-10), that is throughout the Millennium. There are about 20 main references in Scripture of the day of the Lord. Some refer to its commencement at the appearing of Christ (2 Thes. 2:2 JND Trans.; 2 Pet. 3:10; 1 Thes. 5:2, etc.). Other references are a warning of it being "at hand," signaled by the attack of the King of the North which will take place just prior to Christ's appearing (Joel 1:15; 2:11; Zeph. 1:7-20; Zec. 14:1-2, etc.). But there are no references anywhere in Scripture of the day of the Lord being the Rapture. The Rapture is never looked at as a day of judgment, but rather the time when the Bridegroom and the bride are joyfully united. Now it is true indeed that Antichrist will arise and lead away many before the day of the Lord, but there is no mention of him arising before the Rapture.

 It is amazing how applicable this epistle is for our day even though it was written nearly 2,000 years ago. False teachers are again at work propounding the same evil that was bothering the Thessalonians. And they are using the same three ways that were used in Paul's day! First, "by spirit" (vs. 2), the false teachers claimed they had received it through a spiritual revelation given to them. Secondly, "by word" (vs. 2), they were misapplying Old Testament Scripture to support their teaching. The lastly, "by letter as from us" (vs.2), that is, they actually had gone so far as to produce an epistle and claimed it was from Paul making out that Paul taught such things. So it is today, those responsible for teaching this doctrine are claiming that they too have received it through a special revelation from God. They are also using the Scriptures to support it, and are taking Paul's ministry (epistles) and teaching that Paul taught that the Church must go through the Tribulation. This in principle is the same as the teachers of that day forging an epistle and putting Paul's name to it, making out he said something he never did. This is no doubt why Paul mentioned that he wrote the salutation of each of his epistles with his own hand so that no mistake could be made (2 Thes. 3:17).

 The other reason why this application is in error is that it destroys the imminency of the Lord's coming. The Lord's coming (Rapture) is always presented in Scripture as something that could take place at any moment. Paul encouraged the saints in his day to look for the Lord to come. "Our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." (Phil. 3:20-21). James also taught the saints in that day to be patient and wait for it. "Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." (James 5:8) In fact all the apostles laboured to put the nearness of the Lord's coming before the saints that it might be a present hope for the Church. "For yet a very little while and He that shall come will come and will not tarry." (Heb. 10:37 JND Trans.) "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand." (Rom. 13:11-12) "But this I say, brethren, the time is short." (1 Cor. 7:29) "The Lord is at hand." (Phil. 4:5) "The end of all things is at hand." (1Pet. 4:7) "Little children, it is the last time." (1 Jn. 2:18) Paul included himself in the hope of being caught up to meet the Lord in the air without seeing death. He said, "We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." (1 Thes. 4:17, see also 1 Cor. 15:51-52). This shows that Paul believed that the Lord could come even in his own lifetime.

 Now to teach that certain events must take place before the Lord will come, such as, the rise of Antichrist and the Tribulation horrors, would be a direct contradiction to the plain teaching of the apostles and would destroy the imminency of the blessed hope of the Lord's coming. Surely Scripture would not teach something in one place and contradict it elsewhere. Taking this blessed hope away from the Church is to cause it to lose sight of the Lord's coming and to settle down in this world. For this very reason the Lord Jesus himself never told us when He would return. But He did say, "Surely I come quickly." (Rev. 22:20).

 Alas, this has been the sad result of so many who hold this erroneous doctrine. They have given up the hope of the Lord's near return, settled down in this world, and are practically saying, "My Lord delayeth His coming." (Mt. 24:48).

 The test for all ministry is, "Does it occupy the heart with Christ?" This sort of teaching does anything but that! Instead of looking for Christ to come, they are looking around at things on earth -- for the coming of Antichrist, etc! The Church is to be looking for the coming of Christ, not the coming of Antichrist!

 Another common Scripture adduced to prove the Church must pass through the Tribulation is Rev. 11:15. "The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever." This Scripture shows that when the seventh and last trumpet is blown at the end of the Tribulation, the Lord will appear and take possession of the kingdoms of this world through judgment. It has been supposed that this is the last trump spoken of at the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:15-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-52). Therefore, the Church will be on earth to pass through the Tribulation judgments preceeding the seventh trumpet (Rev. 6-11). It is taught that the Church will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air just as He comes out of heaven to judge the world.

 This application is very problematic because the Scripture teaches that there are a number of things that will take place from the time the Church is taken up at the Rapture 'til the Lord comes back with them to judge the world. It would be impossible for them to happen in the short time this application allows. After being taken into glory the Lord will cause His people to sit down at His table where He will come forth serving them heavenly happiness and joy unspeakable (Lk. 12:37). Then the judgment seat of Christ will be set, and the believers lives will pass into review and be rewarded (2 Cor. 5:10, etc). The saints will also have a time of praising God and the Lord Jesus Christ around the throne in heaven (Rev. 4-5). Also the marriage of the Lamb and the supper that ensues it (Rev. 19:7-8) must all take place before the Lord comes out of heaven with His saints to judge the world. It would be impossible for all these things to happen if the saints were taken up in the air and then brought directly back down again.

 Another Scripture that is used is Mt. 24:29-31. It is thought that this refers to the Rapture which will take place "immediately after the Tribulation," at which time the Lord will come at the sound of the trumpet to gather His elect. The elect being "Christians" (see Rom. 8:33 etc.).

 First of all, the coming of the Son of Man is never referred to in Scriptures as the Rapture. The Rapture is a mystery not made known until it was revealed through the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 15:51-52). The coming of the Son of Man is something that was known to the Old Testament saints long before Paul's time (Dan. 7:13-14). The Lord never comes as the Son of Man for His Church. The Son of Man is a title the Lord takes when He comes to judge the world at His appearing. Secondly, the Lord does not send His angels to take His bride. The Lord Himself will take her, he does not give that work to angels (1 Thes. 4:16; 2 Thes. 2:1). Thirdly, the trumpet sounded here is not the trump of God at the Rapture, but that of Isa. 27:13; Ps. 81:3, etc. Lastly, the elect here is not the Church but the elect of Israel (Mt. 24:24; Isa. 45:4; 65:9; Rev. 7:1-8; Rom. 11:28, etc.).

The idea of a partial Rapture is so absurd that it is not necessary that we comment on it.

Could you imagine the Lord taking part of His bride to heaven? What would He do in heaven with half a bride? How could there be the marriage of the Lamb with only half the bride present? Anyway, what Scripture would be used to support such a notion?

 There is one more point the reader should consider with regard to this whole question. This kind of teaching usually manifests itself in a context of a host of other bad doctrines. Those that generally teach that the Church must go through the Tribulation are very often confused on other important Bible doctrines. Many are not clear as to the believer's eternal security in Christ. They do not accept the woman's God-given place in the Church. Nor do they understand the truth of the one body as being the ground of gathering of all Christians, etc. Would the reader trust the teaching of ones who are not sound on so many other truths? Surely it sould be a warning to us all to beware.

 Finally, we urge all to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thes. 5:21)

--B. Anstey 1987                                                                                                                                                                                            Top --  Back

Page by  Arne Herstad