Rapture: The Last Trump And The Second Coming Of Christ
By Mark Watson
The Pre-tribulation Rapture is not a sound and unassailable theological position. The preponderance of evidence that the translation of the saints and the second coming of Jesus Christ are one and the same event is extensive. I know many of you have been taught to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture by a plethora of biblical prophecy teachers and scholars. The following paragraphs will explain why, as much as I want to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, the scriptures clearly indicate when the translation of the saints will occur. But first let me explain why this topic is so very important.
What you believe affects how you live. If you earnestly believe that you will not go through the last seven years of extreme trouble commonly referred to as the Great Tribulation, then you will not make any preparations spiritually or physically. If on the other hand you know (or even suspect) you will be here, then you will prayerfully and constantly seek Christ’s wisdom and guidance and LIVE BY FAITH. It is my considered opinion that God loves us all, even the most hardened sinner. But he will not be mocked at judgment day. We saints of God who sincerely want to do God’s will must do what Christ tells us to do, even if it means receiving ridicule and scorn, and having ‘Christians’ separate themselves from us. For many of us this means to live simply and humbly. Others have been called to exhort and teach while others are to minister according to Gods good graces. We, who are among the saved, must claim Gods promises including the ones Jesus made such as “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.” ( John 16:33b) This is an (uncomfortable) promise the Son of God makes to his followers. If you are a true Christian, it applies to you. The necessity of enduring to the end and of the leading astray, if possible, even the elect takes on an entirely new meaning if the Church is to here during the tribulation and the reign of anti-Christ.
Additionally, it must be stated here that other than the doctrine of the first coming of Christ, his death and resurrection and Messiahship, the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ is the most important doctrine in scripture, in short it is the final act in God's promise of redemption. The return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to save his Church, the true Israel and heirs to the promise is the single most important doctrine in the Bible, with the possible exception of Christ's bodily resurrection. In short it is the consummation of the work of Jesus Christ. So how can any believer say, 'It isn't important', or 'it will all come out in the wash' or 'we'll know when he comes'?That was the mistake the Jews made when Christ came the first time and THEY WERE REJECTED FOR NOT KNOWING THE IME OF THEIR VISITATION. Jesus told us to watch, over and over again he warns us to watch. How are we to know what to watch for? The answer to that is in the scriptures, in the writings of the Prophets and in the Messiah's words. This is a critical doctrine, because if you do not get this right, you will be as a man looking towards the east, when all the things he should be watching for are in the west. Remember, the Jews during Christs time, were hell-bound and eventually wound up hating and murdering the Christ who came to save them because they did not expect him to do the things that he did at the time that he did them. They wanted someone who would restore the kingdom of David and rid them of Roman Dominance without really turning towards God and doing the things that he commanded them to do. Today, believers want Christ to come to save them from the reign of Antichrist and severe persecution without the true repentance and more importantly the complete submission to Christ's Lordship (obedience) that leads to true salvation. In short, they want to fly away. Yet the scriptures clearly teach something very different. Lay hold of this, it is very important.
The rapture of the saints cannot occur until the last trumpet is sounded. “Behold I show you a mystery we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in a 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. (1 Cor 15:51,52). This gives the timing of the rapture
At the last trump.
Let’s see what else the scripture says about this, “
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the LORD himself shall decent from heaven with a shout with the voice of the Archangel and with the Trump of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air and so shall we ever be with the LORD. (1 Thes 4:15-17)
The time table is the same:
The Dead in Christ shall be raised.
The remaining saints translated
Paul tells the Church that we the remaining, still alive believers will not precede those saints who had already died in the LORD. My goodness, how much more clear can you get!? Brothers and sisters, this doctrine is no real mystery. It is not complicated, it is not hidden deep in obscure verses to be interpreted in a strange and new way. It is in plain black and white so plain that any honest, literate, spirit-filled Christian can see for themselves. Unfortunately that is the extreme minority of Christians in America. Far too many are listening to the false shepherds of Babylon.
Paul warned the Thessalonians, “
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, shewing himself that he is God.
Here is a stern warning from the Apostle. He categorically states with regard to
1. The coming of the LORD
2. Our Gathering unto him
He warns us not to let any man deceive you BY ANY MEANS (by a secret return of the LORD). Yet the modern American teachers have found a means. They simply say that there is another 'secret coming' or a 'secret gathering' that that Paul isn't talking about. Christ warned us about those who teach of a secret return of the LORD and told his disciples exactly how he was going to come, suddenly for all to see and hear.
Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
A note here, Paul says that anyone who says the church won’t be here when the son of perdition (Antichrist) is revealed is deceiving you. Those who are teaching that you are going to fly away before the Antichrist is revealed are deceivers. Plain and simple. But there is big, big money in deceiving the Church, hence they are the ones whom the harlot religious system honors and promotes with their books, movies and magazines. Some may be doing it with the best of intentions, but a false doctrine is still false and a false teacher is still a false teacher. Reader Beware. Many of todays Seminaries and Bible Colleges have pounded the doctrine of the pre-trib rapture into the minds of denominational Church leaders that now hold important positions in mainstream Christianity. Many hold this doctrine because they have never really honestly studied it fully. Other have studied it knowing the pre-trib rapture position is false but remain silent out of cowardice and fear. Still others don't really believe in a return of the LORD at all, though they would never actually teach that. In any event, whatever the motivation of these religious leaders weather it is laziness, fear, or unbelief the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture is a false one.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light and the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matt 24:29-31)
Jesus said after the tribulation. And again we see the angels are present and the sound of a Trumpet.
The book of revelation identifies when the LAST trumpet sounds. There are seven trumpets which sound in the book of revelation and the last one is very different from the first six.
The First trumpet - fire hail and blood were thrown to earth.
The Second trumpet - a great “mountain” was cast into the sea.
The Third trumpet - a great star fell from heaven.
The Fourth trumpet - the sun moon and stars smitten.
The Fifth trumpet - the key to the bottomless pit opened, locusts released
The sixth trumpet - Four powerful angels released to slay one-third of men.
Then there is a long description of events which take place BEFORE THE SEVENTH AND FINAL ANGEL SOUNDS his trumpet.
1. An angel declares the mystery of God is finished1. (The seven thunders)
2. There should be no more delay.
3. The temple of God is measured.
4. God’s two witnesses prophesy for 1260 days (who says there are no more prophets!)
5. The two witnesses shall be killed in Jerusalem.
6. The two witnesses shall be caught up to heaven.
But at the seventh trumpet;
1. The kingdoms of the Earth become the kingdoms of God and Jesus Christ
2. The nations are angry at Jesus Christ
3. The Judgment of the dead is at hand
4. The reward of Gods servants is at hand.
5. Time for Christ and his servants to destroy those that destroy the earth.
6. The time of God’s wrath has come.
Indeed these verses show there is an excellent possibility of a pre-wrath rapture. Consider that the DAY of the LORD begins with his wrath. And that on that day many, many things begin to happen, perhaps too many to fit into a single solar day.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2Pe 3:8)
I do not want to take liberties here for this subject is not so clear, but it is quite possible that the Last Day (Day of the LORD) that begins with God's Wrath, is the actually the beginning of the last thousand year reign also known as the millennium. This is food for serious thought for after the last trumpet sounds, the rulership of the planet changes hands and many many things transpire.
The First Resurrection
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection - Revelation 20:4-5
This is a most amazing scripture in the entire debate on the second coming of Christ. First, look and see who is included in this resurrection; those who refused to take the mark of the beast. Now we know that the translation of the saints (rapture) is not until after the first resurrection (1 Thess4:16-17). This verse tells you that the First resurrection takes place AFTER the mark of the beast. In short, NO resurrection and NO rapture before the mark of the beast. This lines up perfectly with what Paul so clearly stated, there will be no second coming of Christ before the Antichrist is revealed. (2 Thess. 2:3).
Indeed, Christ himself was most emphatic on when he was going to resurrect the dead in Christ.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (Joh 6:39)
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (Joh 6:40)
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (Joh 6:44)
Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. (Joh 11:24)
Christ makes it abundantly clear that no one gets resurrected until the last day. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that no one is going away in any 'rapture' until the dead in Christ are raised up first. These are clear and incontrovertible teaching of Christ and his holy Apostles.
I do not see the Second Coming of Christ and the rapture of the saints as two different events. Rather, I see clearly it as being one single event. Nevertheless, even if they are separate events, neither will occur before the man of sin is revealed and many Christians are martyred for having refused the mark of the beast. More importantly, I do not believe the scriptures teach anything remotely like a pre-tribulation rapture. Christ is coming for a Church without spot or wrinkle. That certainly does not describe the millions of worldly, carnal 'christians' who flock to see the latest 'end-times' movies or buy the latest, best selling heretical 'Christian fiction' books. I am not trying to be condescending, but I believe that in the scriptures, first means first and last means last, if another trumpet sounds it is not the last!! Let me make this very clear to those who are teaching contrary to God’s revealed word, any other definition of last is no more than a wresting of the scriptures and great spiritual folly. But I am sure you will find no difficulty in finding millionaire teachers to convince you “that the Holy Spirit really didn’t mean last, what he really meant to say was…[Insert your convenient lie here]...”
The church will not experience God’s wrath. PERIOD. Many teachers see this as evidence that the church must be raptured first. On the surface this seems sound, but in reality it is American, it is Laodicean and it springs from a spirit of lukewarmness. Consider this, Lot was not translated at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but he was removed from the danger area, Noah was not translated even though the flood covered the whole earth, everyone else was dead! At the end of the tribulation at least a few will survive. By faith Noah prepared. Even though he was certainly mocked and laughed at for doing so. During the plagues of Egypt God supernaturally protected his people from his WRATH (not from chastisement, tribulation or persecution, but Gods Holy Wrath). This is one way God may protect us from the plagues of the last days. However God chooses to do it, you can be sure he will. It is a non-sequiter that God MUST translate the church for people to escape his wrath. God is Sovereign and rest assured he has the situation under control, even if we are like the saints in the book of Daniel who were thrown directly into the fiery furnace and were not burned, GOD IS ABLE!!! I must tell you, this American Gospel of prosperity, easy believe-ism and name it and claim it materialism, is not of God and gives rise to the comfortable no-suffering doctrines which are passed off as truth in the pulpit and Christian TV. Millionaire Christians who preach this non-sense put their sheep in great peril because when persecutions and tribulations come, it shakes the faith of these poor souls. And if they are taught to believe that we will not go through the tribulation and finds everyone still here, what will happen next? Hell's voice will speak in their troubled minds and say “If your preacher was wrong about the Rapture what else is he wrong about?” Then unbelief and even apostasy sets in. Then follows spiritual disaster. Because they were taught the gospel according to the American flag and the America dollar rather than according to Christ Jesus. God is not mocked. He who stores his treasure on earth will reap corruption. Consider this carefully, it will mean life or death to the mainstream American-Laodicean Church.
While God has not appointed us to wrath, there are some hard, hard times that believers will have to face and endure...to the end. The Antichrist will make war on the saints and will overcome them.
Revelation 13 says of the Beast: Vs 7 - And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. [emphasis Mine]
One of the first mistakes made by modern and apostate teachers is that the Church will not be here when the 'end times' begins. This is palpably false and there is no real scriptural evidence for this. Those who hold this view must ignore or 'reinterpret' the words 'saints' and 'believers' and 'those who obey God's commandments' as something other that the true followers of Jesus Christ, better known as the Church. Redefining terms is a tool the devil has always used to obfuscate and confuse the truth and finally deceive people. Saints means saints. If you have difficulty in knowing who the saints are, then do a word study(See Bottom of this Page2). Most of you will not STUDY the word of God, to show yourselves approved and that is why so many will not believe what the scripture teaches, but rather believe what the false teachers are teaching.
Rev. 14:9-14 clearly teaches 3 things:
The saints of the tribulation are those who hold the true faith of Jesus Christ (Vs 12)
They are to have patience because the mark of the beast is here and they must not take it (vs 9-12)
There is s special blessing in those who die from that time onwards (Vs 13)
I also believe that these teachers are setting up the people of God for a very, very vile deception. I do not know exactly what this deception is, but the Spirit bears witness that the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture figures in heavily. But whatever it is, it will be strong enough to deceive God's most precious elect, if it were possible. Very few believers fall into that category. Very few. If it is strong enough to deceive them, what about the millions of half-baked lukewarm minions who call themselves Christians who bring great dishonor to Christ with their sinful lifestyles, and doctrines of devils? Did not the Apostle Paul warn of these types of people when he said that God would send them a strong delusion because they loved not the truth? Bear this in mind, saints of God, Satan is not sending this delusion, though he may be the instrument. God himself is sending this one.
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. (2Th 2:8-12)
Whatever this deception is, it has been in the works since at lest the days of Paul in the 1st Century (2Thes2:7). Therefore, if you are not firmly rooted and grounded in the word, knowing the times and the seasons of God's prophetic timetable, you will be like a man who goes into battle without a map, weapon or a battle plan.
Such people will be the slaughtered on the great day of the LORD, with all who loved the lie rather than the truth.
The Spirit bears witness that the doctrine of Christ's Second Coming is a foundation one. It is almost as important (though not quite) as salvation by grace and repentance from dead works. It is especially important to THIS GENERATION. God does not make foundational doctrines difficult to understand for his TRUE FLOCK. It is up to the Devil to confuse, obfuscate, misdirect, and otherwise DECEIVE those who receive not the love of the truth. Brothers and sisters, please let that not be you.
I know I have been uncompromising on this and I cannot apologize, I sense deeply that there is a great deception coming and this doctrine (the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine) is an important part of it. It is going to fool a lot of Christians. Even now some are teaching that it will be OK to take the mark of the Beast because it is only an 'economic mark' (????). Please study this doctrine and know the times and seasons it is the only way to properly watch unto salvation.
I humbly submit that I have been given no special divine revelation, no special angel has visited me with special messages regarding the rapture, no dream has revealed this mystery nor has any spiritual being spoken to me about these matters. I profess no special unction from God nor do I seek to have 'followers'. Additionally, I do not wish to create dissension in the true Church of God. My only tools in unraveling this mystery are rightly dividing the word of truth (for many years) and deep and sincere prayer. Many will gainsay this message as it is contrary to the common teachings of the American Pulpit and the Government Corporations passing themselves off as Churches. Also, many who have claimed to have had 'special revelation' from God will also revile this message. I am undaunted and unconcerned with them. If they cannot teach the truth clearly, concisely from the scriptures, I want nothing to do with their uninspired opinions and half studied doctrines that are deceiving many well meaning Christians. Let them be judged by the living God for what they are. Please keep in mind that this writing is not a personal attack upon anyone. It is a look at the doctrine of the rapture/last trump as it is taught clearly and concisely in the Bible, without fanciful interpretations of apocalyptic symbology or exegetical mistakes that imputes or assumes events that are not clearly and concisely taught in scripture. Before any of you readers get all hot and bothered with what I have written, read, study and pray sincerely for wisdom and it will be granted... if it is asked for in faith.
“And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37)
1This mystery, the angel declares, has already been revealed to the God servants the prophets. It is in your scriptures and if you study them for yourself, you will know what this mystery is.
2Here is the word used for saints in the New Testament. You may look each up yourself and get a clearer picture of who the saints are and how the world is used in scripture.
Strongs Word - 40 -
From ἅγος hagos (an awful thing) compare G53, [H2282]; sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): - (most) holy (one, thing), saint.
Mat_1:18 Mat_1:20 Mat_3:11 Mat_4:5 Mat_7:6 Mat_12:32 Mat_24:15 Mat_25:31 Mat_27:52-53 Mat_28:19 Mar_1:8 Mar_1:24 Mar_3:29 Mar_6:20 Mar_8:38 Mar_12:36 Mar_13:11 Luk_1:15 Luk_1:35 Luk_1:41 Luk_1:49 Luk_1:67 Luk_1:70 Luk_1:72 Luk_2:23 Luk_2:25-26 Luk_3:16 Luk_3:22 Luk_4:1 Luk_4:34 Luk_9:26 Luk_11:13 Luk_12:10 Luk_12:12 Joh_1:33 Joh_7:39 Joh_14:26 Joh_17:11 Joh_20:22 Act_1:2 Act_1:5 Act_1:8 Act_1:16 Act_2:4 Act_2:33 Act_2:38 Act_3:14 Act_3:21 Act_4:8 Act_4:27 Act_4:30-31 Act_5:3 Act_5:32 Act_6:3 Act_6:5 Act_6:13 Act_7:33 Act_7:51 Act_7:55 Act_8:15 Act_8:17-19 Act_9:13 Act_9:17 Act_9:31-32 Act_9:41 Act_10:22 Act_10:38 Act_10:44-45 Act_10:47 Act_11:15-16 Act_11:24 Act_13:2 Act_13:4 Act_13:9 Act_13:52 Act_15:8 Act_15:28 Act_16:6 Act_19:2 Act_19:6 Act_20:23 Act_20:28 Act_21:11 Act_21:28 Act_26:10 Act_28:25 Rom_1:2 Rom_1:7 Rom_5:5 Rom_7:12 Rom_8:27 Rom_9:1 Rom_11:16 Rom_12:1 Rom_12:13 Rom_14:17 Rom_15:13 Rom_15:16 Rom_15:25-26 Rom_15:31 Rom_16:2 Rom_16:15-16 1Co_1:2 1Co_2:13 1Co_3:17 1Co_6:1-2 1Co_6:19 1Co_7:14 1Co_7:34 1Co_12:3 1Co_14:33 1Co_16:1 1Co_16:15 1Co_16:20 2Co_1:1 2Co_6:6 2Co_8:4 2Co_9:1 2Co_9:12 2Co_13:12-14 Eph_1:1 Eph_1:4 Eph_1:13 Eph_1:15 Eph_1:18 Eph_2:19 Eph_2:21 Eph_3:5 Eph_3:8 Eph_3:18 Eph_4:12 Eph_4:30 Eph_5:3 Eph_5:27 Eph_6:18 Phi_1:1 Phi_4:21-22 Col_1:2 Col_1:4 Col_1:12 Col_1:22 Col_1:26 Col_3:12 1Th_1:5-6 1Th_3:13 1Th_4:8 1Th_5:26-27 2Th_1:10 1Ti_5:10 2Ti_1:9 2Ti_1:14 Tit_3:5 Phm_1:5 Phm_1:7 Heb_2:4 Heb_3:1 Heb_3:7 Heb_6:4 Heb_6:10 Heb_9:8 Heb_10:15 Heb_13:24 1Pe_1:12 1Pe_1:15-16 1Pe_2:5 1Pe_2:9 1Pe_3:5 2Pe_1:18 2Pe_1:21 2Pe_2:21 2Pe_3:2 2Pe_3:11 1Jo_2:20 1Jo_5:7 Jud_1:3 Jud_1:14 Jud_1:20 Rev_3:7 Rev_4:8 Rev_5:8 Rev_6:10 Rev_8:3-4 Rev_11:2 </SP