The Early Church And The Rapture

Q. We are studying Revelation in the home study at my house, and I know I am going to butt heads with the leader over the Rapture. He is convinced of a “mid trib” Rapture, because he doesn’t believe we would be taken out of the world to escape persecution, which is all he sees in the first half, not the wrath of God.

He has also cited that tired “fact” that no church father ever taught or believed in a rapture. I know there is not a huge amount written about it, but I do know there are some who believed it. Would you give an example please?

A.  The mid- trib view is impossible to defend from Scripture, which is probably why your friend relies on opinion.  It’s very name is misleading because the mid trib position actually places the rapture in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, just before the Great Tribulation begins. So it’s technically a pre-tribulation rapture.

Since the Great Tribulation begins in Rev.13, mid-tribbers have the Church going through the seals and 6 of the 7 trumpet judgments, leaving earth at about the time of the 7th Trumpet in Rev. 11.  By then over 1/3 of the world’s population will have died and a group of tribulation martyrs too big to number will have arrived in Heaven (Rev. 7:9-17). That’s a bit more intense than “mere” persecution.

Paul was the best known proponent of the pre-trib rapture, having personally introduced it to the Church.  If you read the text carefully, you’ll find that 2 Thessalonians 2 doesn’t make sense unless Paul had taught them the pre-trib position when he was there.

The Book of Revelation clearly states that God’s wrath begins in Rev. 6 with the Seal Judgments.   Paul taught that since we have now been justified by the Lord’s blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him (Romans 5:9).  In 1 Thes. 1:10 he said that the church would be rescued from the time, place, or any relation to the coming wrath, because we weren’t appointed to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes 5:9).  And the Lord Himself said that He would keep us out of the hour of trial coming upon the whole world (Rev. 3:10).

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