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Does the Rapture take place before the Tribulation Period starts?

q.gif (1639 bytes)    May I know your beliefs on the timing of Rapture? If it is Pre-tribulation, can you please give me some scriptural passages that support this teaching?

a.gif (1659 bytes)    Yes, the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation Period starts.

    Every truly born-again believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30 says, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby YE ARE SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION." We are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the "day of redemption," until the day that we will receive our "spiritual" or "glorified" bodies. Philippians 3:20,21 says, "For our conversation is in heaven; FROM WHENCE ALSO 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, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." I Corinthians 15:42-54 says, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. THERE IS A NATURAL BODY, AND THERE IS A SPIRITUAL BODY. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED, IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."

    The ministry of the Holy Spirit "sealing" believers is only a ministry of the Church Age. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would "come upon" believers to perform a task, but not necessarily "stay upon" them. Such was the case with King Saul. I Samuel 16:14 says, "But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul." But in the same passage, we see that the case with David was different. I Samuel 16:13 says, "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD CAME UPON DAVID FROM THAT DAY FORWARD. This did not mean that people were saved, and then lost, but that the ministry of the Holy Spirit was just different then, in that He "came upon" believers, and did not "indwell" them.

    When Jesus was going to leave His earthly ministry, He gave a promise. John 14:16,17 says, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, AND SHALL BE IN YOU." The Holy Spirit was "WITH" them, but when Jesus left, the Holy Spirit would be "IN" them. Keep this teaching clearly in your mind, that the Holy Spirit now abides "in" the body of a believer, until the day that he/she is redeemed.

   Now go to the passage that tells us what must happen before the Tribulation Period can begin. II Thessalonians 2:1-12 says, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and BY OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM , That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ 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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And NOW YE KNOW WHAT WITHHOLDETH THAT HE MIGHT BE REVEALED IN HIS TIME. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: ONLY HE WHO NOW LETTETH WILL LET, UNTIL HE BE TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY. AND THEN SHALL THAT WICKED BE REVEALED, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

    Please notice that "something," indeed, "someone" is withholding the antichrist from being revealed. What is it? Who is it? What is stopping him is "our gathering together unto the Lord at His coming," and "the Holy Spirit who has sealed each and every one of us." The antichrist cannot take over until the Holy Spirit is gone from His present earthly ministry of sealing us. And He is not going to leave that ministry until the day of redemption (the day when our bodies are redeemed). So the antichrist cannot take over until the Holy Spirit is gone, and if the Holy Spirit is gone, then we also have to be gone, because we are sealed by Him. Prayerfully read and re-read Ephesians 4:30, and II Thessalonians 2:1-12, and John chapter 14, and it will become clear to you.

    John 14 starts out, "LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN, AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; that where I am, there ye may be also." How could the Christian’s heart not be "troubled," if the Tribulation Period was before the Rapture? The Bible itself calls the Tribulation Period "a time of trouble." Daniel 12:1 says, "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and THERE SHALL BE A TIME OF TROUBLE, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time." You will then go on to read in John 14 about the ministry of the Holy Spirit to born-again believers which make up the church.

    The Tribulation Period is said to be a time of trouble for "Israel" — not for the "church." Jeremiah 30:7 says, "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE; but he shall be saved out of it." Israel will have to go through it, and will be delivered "OUT OF IT," but the church has the promise of being delivered "FROM IT." There is a big difference. Both receive deliverance from the Lord, but in different ways. The church is delivered by being taken away from the earth before the Tribulation Period starts. Israel is delivered by the Lord’s protection through the Tribulation Period, and by His return at the end of it to be the Victor of the battle. Thus, the church has the promise of Revelation 3:10,11, "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. BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."

    Are you ready for His return? The way to be truly ready for that day is to be saved and serving the Lord. Titus 2:12,13 says, "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; LOOKING FOR THAT BLESSED HOPE, AND THE GLORIOUS APPEARING OF THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST."

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