Sunday, July 7, 2019

Posttribulation Rapture of the Church


The timing of the rapture represents a hotly debated topic within Christianity, even among Apostolic believers. Unlike other issues, the rapture question does not divide primarily between conservative and liberal scholars. W. K. Harrison observes, “There is serious honest disagreement among Christians who agree in their loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible, as to whether the rapture occurs before or after the great tribulation.”[1] Harrison questions the profitability of rapture debates given that the issue may not represent a fundamental article of the Christian faith. However, he concedes that since only one of the conflicting opinions can be correct, Christians should seek God’s truth on the matter, approaching the subject “objectively, without emotional or prideful influences,” in order to “seek to learn God’s truth” and present “to the whole believing church a real and true understanding of the solution.”[2] As such, this paper seeks to present exegetical and theological arguments to affirm the Posttribulation rapture of the NT church at the time of Christ’s Second Coming (the Parousia).
            Before presenting affirmative arguments and examining those to the contrary, we must establish the meaning of key theological terms and general theological perspectives as they apply to the realm of eschatology. Scholars commonly utilize the term “rapture” to describe the “catching away” of believers to “meet the Lord in the air.”[3] The word “rapture” originates from the Latin rapturo, which Jerome penned in his Vulgate to translate the phrase “caught up” as seen in most English Bibles of 1 Thess 4:17. The rapture, however, involves more than physical removal of believers from the earth to meet the Lord in the air. This event also includes a resurrection of the dead in Christ[4] and a bodily transformation from mortality into immortality.[5] Douglas Moo notes:

Theologically, rapture is best seen as a parallel to resurrection. When the Lord returns, dead saints are raised from the dead; living saints are raptured … Christians who have already died will be “raised imperishable,” but the rest of us, those who are still alive when Christ returns, must also be “changed”—that is, “raptured.”[6]

Thus, the rapture encompasses the bodily resurrection of dead saints, the transformation from mortality into immortality, and the physical removal of all believers from the earth to meet the Lord in the air.
            Secondly, we wish to establish common terms connected to the rapture and Christ’s Second Coming. The bible offers four prominent terms to describe Christ’s return from heaven: parousia (coming), apokolypsis (revelation), epiphaniea (appearing), and erchomai (come). 1 Thess 4:14–17 places the rapture at the timing of Christ’s “coming” (parousia).[7] In 1 Cor 1:6–8, Paul admonished believers to eagerly await the “revelation” (apokolypsis) of Jesus Christ.[8] Likewise, Paul instructed believers to live soberly, righteously, and godly looking for “the blessed hope and glorious appearing” (epiphaniea)[9] of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.[10] The most common term describing Christ’s return is the verb erchomai (come) as in Acts 1:11, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come (erchomai) in the like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”[11] These terms often appear synonymously in the scriptures.[12] For example, Paul employs apokalypsis and erchomai in 2 Thess 1:7–10 and both parousia and epiphaniea in 2 Thess 2:1–8 to describe Christ’s return. The next section will discuss in detail how each of these terms relate to the timing of the rapture and second coming. However, Christ’s return finds its hope in each of these terms.


Since the Bible employs various Greek words to designate both the rapture and Christ’s Second Advent to the earth, we must determine the time of the rapture in relation to the Great Tribulation from a careful analysis of relevant biblical passages.[13] Pretribulationist teach that the rapture of the church, to meet the Lord in the air, occurs prior to the Great Tribulation, which concludes with Christ’s return at the battle of Armageddon. Thus, Pretribulationism ascribes to a type of split-phase or two-part Second Advent. Pretribulationist typically refer to these phases as “the Rapture” and “the Revelation.”[14] Posttribulationist[15] teach that “the Rapture” and “the Revelation” refer to one event, which “is the singular coming of Christ for His church” at Armageddon.[16] Thus, Posttribulationism explains the terms parousia, apokolypsis, and epiphaniea as describing the same event when Christ “comes” (erchomai) again immediately after the Great Tribulation.
            The earliest NT passage, which mentions the Parousia occurs in 1 Thess 4:15–5:4:
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming (parousia) of the Lord will by no means precede those who asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of Go. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

In this pericope, Paul describes the coming (parousia) of the Lord and the rapture (caught up together) as “this day” (hēmera), that is, the “day of the Lord.” This language indicates one single event, not two events separated by a period of years. Paul called the rapture and the Lord’s coming (parousia) “this day” (hēmera), not “those days.” Thus, we should understand the rapture and Parousia as one single event.
            Likewise, Paul reaffirms his teaching on Christ’s return in 2 Thess 2:1–8:
Now, brethren, concerning the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ[17] had come. Let no one deceive you by any means: for that Day will not come unless the falling away come first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition … And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (parousia).

Once again, Paul describes Christ’s return (parousia) and the rapture as a single event, not two events separated by several years. Likewise, Paul indicates that Christ’s Parousia will not occur until “the falling away (apostasia) come first, and the man of sin is revealed.” This language depicts a plain chronological order of events. The “falling away” (apostasia) and revealing of the “man of sin” must take place first, before Christ’s Parousia and the church’s “gathering together” unto the Lord. Consequently, this order places the timing of Christ’s Parousia, when believers are caught up together, after the “man of sin” (Antichrist) is revealed, which negates a Pretribulation rapture.
            Some Pretribulationist, however, attempt to split the rapture (gathering together) from the Parousia by claiming that the “falling away,” which must occur “first,” actually describes the rapture of the church as a “spatial departure” from this earth into heaven.[18] Kenneth Wuest suggests, “The article before apostasia defines that word by pointing to ‘the gathering together unto him’ as that departure.”[19] However, William Combs offers a scathing refutation of this view demonstrating that the Greek word apostasia in the LXX, NT and other koine literature always refers to religious apostasy or political defection.[20] Combs further concludes that the definite article () before apostasia does not require a reference to the “rapture,” but probably refers to religious apostasy which Paul may have mentioned in his previous oral teachings.[21] Even Pretribulationist John Walvoord departed from this apostasia rapture view citing, “[T]he evidence against this translation is impressive.”[22] Thus, we must understand Christ’s Parousia and believer’s “gathering unto Him” as one, single event which occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation when Christ destroys the “man of sin” with the brightness of His Parousia.[23]

The Rapture and the Olivet Discourse
Interestingly, in 1 Thess 4:15, Paul ascribed his teaching on the rapture and Christ’s Parousia to “the word of the Lord” or “what the Lord has said.”[24] The Complete Jewish Bible renders en logō Kuriou as “the Lord’s own word.” This “word of the Lord” may point to a direct revelation or a simple statement in accord to the mind of Christ.[25] However, the most natural reference seems to be of Christ’s teaching concerning His Parousia at the Olivet Discourse. Eadie notes many ancient commentators who regarded logō Kuriou as Christ’s words in the Olivet Discourse.[26] Some may object because Paul’s words do not reflect Christ’s saying in the Olivet Discourse verbatim. However, Ben Witherington points out, “What we can say about the echoes and allusions to the Jesus tradition in Paul with some assurance is that he almost always feels free to paraphrase that tradition or put it in more Pauline wording, rarely quoting it.”[27] Likewise, Witherington observes that parallels between 1 Thess and the Olivet Discourse imply Paul drew upon Synoptic source material.[28] The following chart illustrates this more clearly:


Commentators should not minimize or idly dismiss such striking parallels. Like 2 Thess 2:1, Matt 24:27–31 describes both Christ’s Parousia and “gathering” of His people. The verb “gather together” (episynagō), in Matt 24:31, represents the verb form of the noun “gathering together” (episynagōgē) in 2 Thess 2:1. Furthermore, Matt 24:31 mentions angels, a trumpet (salpigx) and a great voice (phonē) when the elect are “gathered together” just as Paul describes the rapture (caught up together) in 1 Thess 4:16–17 as “the voice (phonē) of an archangel with the trumpet (salpigx) of God.” As a matter of fact, the imagery of angels, a voice (phonē) and a trumpet only specifically appears in 1 Thess 4:15 and Matt 24:31. If we apply the same methods and science of hermeneutics to these identical terms, as we do to other passages,[29] then we are faced with the conclusion that 1 Thess 4:15–16 and Matt 24:27–31 both describe the rapture of the church at Christ’s Parousia, which Christ stated would occur “immediately after the tribulation of those days.” Thus, Christ’s eschatology describes a Posttribulation rapture of the church of which Paul expresses in his epistles to the Thessalonians.
Pretribulationist reject Matt 24:31 as the rapture since, they claim, the text does not describe the angels gathering the elect from earth to heaven. They, thus, explain this gathering of the elect as the return of “the faithful remnant of Israel.”[30] However, Mark’s account of the Olivet Discourse does describe the angels as gathering the elect “from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.”[31] Commentators have certainly understood this language as describing the rapture. For example, Matthew Henry explained:

The gathering together of all the elect to him (v. 27); He shall send his angels, and gather together his elect to him, to meet him in the air, 1 Thess. iv. 17 … they shall be fetched from the uttermost part of the earth, most remote from the places where Christ's tribunal shall be set, and shall be brought to the uttermost part of heaven.[32]

Likewise, the Epistles utilize the term “the elect” exclusively to identify the church, not Jews outside of the church.[33] For example, in Rom 11:6, Paul specifically distinguished between Israel who “has not obtained what it seeks” and the elect who “have obtained” grace.[34] Millard Erickson concurs:

The term “elect” in Matthew 24 (after the tribulation, the angels will gather the elect―vv. 29–31) should be understood in light of its usage elsewhere in Scripture, where it means “believers.” Since Pentecost, the term “elect” has denoted the church. The Lord will preserve the church during, but not spare it from, the tribulation.[35]

Thus, Matt 24:31 pictures the NT church as “the elect” whom the angels gather together from the earth to heaven, immediately after the tribulation.
The words voice (phonē) and trumpet also occur in Rev 4:1, which many Pretribulationist explain as the rapture before the Great Tribulation.[36] However, the fact that the voice instructed John to “come up here,” does not necessitate a bodily rapture seeing as how the next verse describes John as “in the Spirit,”[37] not “raptured” up into heaven. John, while on Patmos, opened his entire apocalyptic vision as saying, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice (phonē), as of a trumpet,”[38] yet Pretribulationist do not declare this as the rapture. Likewise, Rev 10:1 pictures John still on Patmos given that he describes an angel “coming down from heaven” who then places his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the earth.[39] Obviously, John envisions this angel while still on earth, which indicates he was not raptured into heaven in 4:1. Grant Osbourne, likewise acknowledges that the call to “come up here” simply signifies a “visionary trip to heaven in apocalyptic imagery.”[40] Michael Svigel concurs:

In conclusion, it seems that unless one is specifically seeking the Rapture of the Church before the Great Tribulation, Rev 4:1–2 does not naturally lend itself to such and interpretation. In this context, it is best to interpret the passage as the sole experience of John in the ecstatic spiritual state in which he received his visions.[41]

Thus, Rev 4:1 offers no proof of a Pretribulation “rapture,” but describes John’s personal ecstatic experience in the first century.[42]

The Mystery of God and the Seventh Trumpet
The terms voice (phonē) and angel also appear in Rev 10:7; 11:15, 18 with the “seventh trumpet” (sound) presumed. John declared that at the seventh trumpet, “the mystery of God would be finished” and the time to judge the dead and reward the saints occurs. If we understand the book of Revelation as a series of recapitulated visions, then the seventh trumpet sounds at the end of Great Tribulation when the “mystery of God” is complete (teleō), the dead are judged, and rewards are given to the saints. This view is not uncommon. Victorinus (c. AD 270–303), representing the earliest known full commentary of Revelation, declared the apocalyptic visions as a retelling of the same story.[43] Even, Pretribulationist, William Harrison explains, “It seems clear that in the seal, trumpet, and vial judgments there are three concurrent series of judgments; at least, they reach their end at the same time,”[44] which places the seventh trumpet, when “the mystery of God” is complete, at the end of the Great Tribulation.
What, then, is “the mystery of God” that will be complete (teleō) at the seventh trumpet at the end of the Great Tribulation? Paul identifies “the mystery of God” as the mystery “hidden from ages and generations, but now revealed to His saints … which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”[45] In his parallel epistle to the Ephesians,[46] Paul explains this “mystery,”[47] “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men,” as the Jews and Gentiles being “fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.”[48] This “same body” that Jews and Gentiles belong to is the church. Paul declared that “by one Spirt” Jews and Gentiles are “all baptized into one body.”[49] W. E. Vine, likewise, identified this “mystery” as “the Church, which is Christ’s Body, i.e. the union of redeemed men with God in Christ.”[50] Therefore, “His promise,” of which Gentiles partake, is “Christ in you”—the “promise of the Holy Spirit.”[51]
John declared that “the mystery of God” (Jews and Gentiles together in one body—the church—and partakers of His promise) will be complete (teleō) at the seventh  trumpet at the end of the Great Tribulation when the time of judging the dead and rewarding the saints occurs. Osbourne, rightly, connects the time for judging the dead and rewarding God’s servants to the resurrection of the dead as mentioned in Dan 12:2 and Rev 20:11–14.[52] James Buswell, likewise, recognizes the similarities between the seventh trumpet and the rapture trumpet and concludes:

It does seem to me that the correlation of data centering around the seventh trumpet as the trumpet of the Rapture is so complete, so precise, and so unequivocable that more attention ought to be devoted to a study of the seventh trumpet and its relationship to other Scriptures than has ever been so devoted thus far in the history of the church.[53]

Thus, John’s eschatology agrees with Christ and Paul.  The church is complete and “raptured”[54] with the sounding of the seventh trump when Christ returns after the tribulation to destroy the man of sin[55] with the brightness of His Parousia.[56]

Troubled Thessalonians
In 2 Thess 2:1–12, Paul responds to certain false reports, whether by prophetic utterance or a pseudo-apostolic letter, that “the day of the Lord had come.” The issue regarding 2 Thess 2:2 concerns whether Paul meant that the day of the Lord was “present” or “had come to pass,” as if the Thessalonians had missed the Parousia. David Dean explains 2 Thess 2:2 to indicate that the Thessalonians believed that they had somehow missed the (Pretribulation) rapture and “that they had been left behind.”[57] Dean argues that the Thessalonians would have immediately known any claim that the day of the Lord had arrived was false because (1) Christ had not returned, (2) the Rapture had not occurred, (3) Daniel’s Seventieth Week had had no time to transpire, (4) the temple had not been desecrated at the middle of the Tribulation, and (5) the Thessalonians had not observed the supernatural judgments. However, Dean’s assessment is self-contradicting and inconsistent. Dean’s reasoning bounces back and forth from whether the Thessalonians had missed the (Pretribulation) rapture or Christ’s Parousia.[58] Likewise, Dean bases three of his points on a false understanding of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks as an eschatological prophecy.[59]
            As Paul points out, the Thessalonians were not immediately convinced that the day of the Lord was not “present.” Paul encouraged them not to be “shaken in mind or troubled.” The primary issue in exegesis concerns whether enistēmi reflects past (had come) or present (at hand) action. The verb enistēmi denotes a perfect active indicative. Daniel Wallace explains that the perfect indicative typically reflects completed past action with results existing in the present.[60] However, Wallace also points out that verbs frequently occur in the perfect indicative which are “used just like present tense verbs.”[61] For example, the perfect indicative ēngiken, in Matt 3:2, describes the kingdom of God as “at hand” or “present,” not that it had already come to pass and Israel had missed it. Likewise, the verb enistēmi occurs in six other passages, all of which denote a sense of being “present,” not an action which occurred in the past.[62] Robertson explains 2 Thess 2:2 as, “Perfect active indicative of enistēmi, old verb, to place in, but intransitive in this tense to stand in or at or near. So ‘is imminent’ (Lightfoot).”[63] Thus, the perfect indicative expresses that the Thessalonians received word that the day of the Lord was “present” or “at hand,”[64] not that it “came to pass,” and that they had somehow missed the rapture.
            G. Braumann points out that some used this report that “the day of the Lord has come” as “an excuse for idleness.”[65] This hardly sounds like a response one would expect if the Thessalonians believed they had missed the rapture. This mindset aligns more with the idea that the Parsousia (day of the Lord) were “at hand.” Thus, their attitude may have reflected the thought of “why bother working, since the Lord’s return (and the rapture) is at hand?” Moo, likewise, points out that if the Thessalonians expected to be raptured before the Tribulation, Paul missed the perfect prospect to point this out.[66] Rather, Paul indicated certain Tribulation events that must occur first before “that day” (Christ’s Parousia and our gathering unto Him) will occur. Thus, we understand that the Thessalonians had wrongly been informed that the day of the Lord was “at hand,” not that they somehow missed the (Pretribulation) rapture.


Eschatology must agree with soteriology and pneumatology. Pretribulationism fails when viewed through the lens of these other two facets of theology. Pretribulationalist readily admit that, although (presumably) Christ will rapture the church prior to the Tribulation, “tribulation saints” will likewise be saved. In fact, some concede that God will save these tribulated saints “by the same process of faith in Christ” as He did the church prior to the Tribulation.[67] This begs the question, if their salvation is “by the same process of faith in Christ,” then why are these tribulated saints not members of the church?
            Joel’s prophecy of the “last days” describes a continuous outpouring of God’s Spirit “before the great and awesome day of the Lord.”[68] When we compare Joel’s prophecy with Paul’s pneumatology, we discover that the charismata continue unto Christ’s coming. Paul instructed the Corinthians not to lack any charismata awaiting Christ’s revelation (apokalypsis), who would confirm believers “unto the end (to telos),” blameless in the day of the Lord.[69] Likewise, Paul expressed that charismata will “cease,” “fail,” or be “done away” when “that which is perfect” (to teleion) is come.[70] The phrase to teleion represents the neuter singular adjectival form of the masculine singular noun to telos, which Paul declares occurs at Christ’s Parousia.[71] John penned the verb form, teleō, to describe the “mystery of God” as “complete” at the seventh angel’s trumpet sound.[72] Therefore, the baptism of the Holy Spirit continues until Christ’s return (apokolypsis/parousia) when believers see Christ “face to face.”[73]
            John describes a “great multitude” who comes out of the Great Tribulation having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”[74] Based upon NT soteriology, this phrase suggests that these tribulated saints experience baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.[75] This issue, then, is why do Pretribulationist exclude them from the NT church? Such a view conflicts with NT soteriology. Paul declared that through baptism believers are “baptized into Christ” and have “put on Christ.”[76] Likewise, Paul affirmed that those baptized in the Spirit are “all baptized into one body.”[77] In addition, Paul emphatically professed that there is one body, one Spirit, one faith, and one baptism.[78] Thus all Acts 2:38 believers, even those in the Great Tribulation, comprise the one, same body―the NT church.

Not Appointed to Wrath
When we understand that the NT Acts 2:38 message continues through the Great Tribulation, then viewing the rapture as God’s means of not appointing His people to wrath[79] crumbles to the ground since tribulated saints, who are on earth when God pours out His wrath, still represent His Acts 2:38 people. How is it that God must rapture His church prior to the Tribulation, so as not to appoint them unto wrath, but can yet not appoint the tribulated church unto wrath without a rapture? Moreover, 1 Thess 5:9 says nothing about the Tribulation or rapture. It is unlikely that 1 Thess 5:9 fits the context of God’s wrath during the Tribulation given that “us” includes all believers―living and dead―in 1 Thess 5:10. The wrath in question, more likely, indicates God’s wrath in the final judgement.[80]
            Even if 1 Thess 5:9 refers to God’s wrath in the Tribulation, it is inconceivable to think that God cannot pour out His wrath upon the earth without also pouring it out upon His church. As Grundy points out, Revelation describes the bowls of wrath as poured out upon those who worship the Beast, shed the blood of saints and prophets, blaspheme God and are unrepentant. The scriptures confirm that God only pours out His wrath upon the ungodly.[81] Thus 1 Thess 5:9 neither asserts nor suggests that the Church will be removed from the earth; it only promises deliverance from God’s wrath.

The First Resurrection
A Pretribulation rapture requires two resurrections for Acts 2:38 believers―one prior to the tribulation and one immediately after. However, such an ideology conflicts with the biblical description of the “first resurrection.”[82] Oneness Apostolics point out the inconsistencies of Trinitarianism for believing in three distinct persons in the Godhead, each person God, and yet claiming to believe in only one God. However, Pretribulation Apostolics commit the same mathematical manipulations when it comes to the “first resurrection.”
            They claim that Acts 2:38 believers are resurrected prior to the Tribulation to avoid God’s wrath and then the tribulated Acts 2:38 believers, who are delivered through God’s wrath, are resurrected immediately after the Tribulation. Yet they claim that these two resurrections both represent the “first resurrection.” Just as much as Trinitarianism contradicts the biblical theology of “one God,”[83] so also a Pretribulation split-phase Second Coming and resurrections violates the biblical concept of the “first resurrection.”
            If Pretribulationism is correct, then the resurrection at the rapture prior to the Tribulation would be the “first resurrection,” and the resurrection at Christ’s Parousia after the Tribulation would be the “second resurrection." However, Rev 20:4–5 places the first resurrection immediately after the Great Tribulation. Likewise, Rev 20:5 implies that the second resurrection―“the rest of the dead did not live again”―occurs after “the thousand years were finished,” not immediately after the Great Tribulation. Moreover, the second resurrection more likely refers to eternal punishment in the lake of fire.[84] The “first resurrection” terminology requires a single resurrection of believers at Christ’s Parousia immediately after the Great Tribulation.
            In conclusion, Paul based his eschatology upon Christ’s Olivet Discourse. The terms apokolypsis, epiphaniea, and parousia describe the same event, “that day,” when Christ comes (erchomai) and the angels gather His church together to meet Him in the air. Apostolic soteriology and pneumatology demand an Acts 2:38 church present on earth until Christ’s return on the day of the Lord after the Great Tribulation. God pours out His wrath in the Tribulation only upon unbelievers. Immediately after the Tribulation, as Christ descends from heaven, He will send his angels with a shout and the sound of a trumpet to rapture His church from the earth. Thus, the scriptures affirm a Posttribulation rapture of the church.


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Dean, David. “Does 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3 Exclude the Pretribulational Rapture?” BSac 168 (2011): 196–216.

Eadie, John. A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians. ed. William Young. London: Macmillan, 1877.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.

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Harrison, William K. “The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures [1].” BSac 114 (1957): 316–25.
———“The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures [2].” BSac 115 (1958): 20–6.
———“The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures [3].” BSac 115 (1958): 109–19.
———“The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures. [4].” BSac 115 (1958): 201–11.

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Walvoord, John F. “Posttribulationism Today, Part X: Is the Tribulation Before the Rapture in 2 Thessalonians?” BSac 134 (1977): 107–13.

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[1] William K. Harrison, “The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures [1],” BSac 114 (1957): 316.

[2] Ibid., 316–17.

[3] 1 Thess 4:17; unless otherwise noted, all scriptures references quote the NKJV.
[4] Cf. 1 Thess 4:16.

[5] Cf. 1 Cor 15:50–4.

[6] Douglas Moo, “A Case for the Posttribulation Rapture,” in Three Views on the Rapture: Pretribulation, Prewrath, or Posttribulation. 2nd ed., ed. Stanley N. Gundry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 186.

[7] See also Matt 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Cor 15:23; 1 Thess 3:13; 5:23; 2 Thess 2:1, 8; Jam 5:7, 8; 2 Pet 3:4, 12.

[8] See also Rom 8:19; 16:25; 2 Thess 1:7; 1 Pet 1:7, 13.

[9] Cf. Titus 2:12–13.

[10] See also 2 Thess 2:8; 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 4:1, 8.

[11] See also Matt 24:30, 42–4; John 21:22; Acts 2:20; 1 Cor 11:26; 1 Thess 1:10; 5:2; 2 Thess 1:10; Jude 1:14; Rev 1:4, 7, 8; 3:11; 4:8; 11:17; 16:15; 19:7; 22;7, 12, 20 and other NT passages.

[12] TDNT, 5:869.

[13] Harrison, “Time of the Rapture [1],” 317–18.

[14] George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of the Second Advent and the Rapture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 62.

[15] For sake of space, this paper ignores both Mid-Tribulation and Pre-Wrath Rapture positions, since Posttribulationist affirmatives consequently negate these views.

[16] David S. Norris, Life, Death, and the End of the World (Florissant, MO: Apostolic Teaching Resources, 2017), 204.

[17] TR renders 2 Thess 2:2 as “day of Christ” (hēmera tou Christou), whereas UBS5 contains “day of the Lord” (hēmera tou Kuriou).

[18] David Dean, “Does 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3 Exclude the Pretribulational Rapture?” BSac 168 (2011): 206.

[19] Kenneth S. Wuest, “The Rapture — Precisely When?” BSac 114 (1957): 66.

[20] William W. Combs, “Is Apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 A Reference to the Rapture?” DBSJ 3 (1998): 78–9.

[21] Ibid., 85.

[22] John F. Walvoord, “Posttribulationism Today, Part X: Is the Tribulation Before the Rapture in 2 Thessalonians?” BSac 134 (1977): 110.

[23] Cf 2 Thess 2:8.

[24] 1 Thess 4:15 NIRV. See also, God’s Word translation, “We are telling you what the Lord taught.”

[25] NIDNTT, 2:900.

[27] Ben Witherington III, 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 135.

[28] Ibid., 136.

[29] For example, Apostolics easily recognize 1 Tim 2:9 and 1 Pet 3:3 as synonymous teachings since they represent the only NT passages that mention braided hair (plegma/emplokē), gold (chrysos/chysion) and apparel (himatismos/himation). The same applies to the synonymous teachings of Acts 22:16 and 1 Cor 6:11 as the only NT occurrence of “wash away” (apolouō) coupled with the name of Jesus. Thus, to be consistent, Apostolics should also acknowledge Matt 24:31 and 1 Thess 4:15 as synonymous teachings regarding the “rapture.”

[30] William K. Harrison, “The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures [3].” BSac 115 (1958): 110.

[31] Mark 13:27, heōs with a genitive of place may mimic the genitive of persons, i.e. “to the place where one is.” Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 4th ed. (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1977), 268.

[32] Matthew Henry, Mathew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991), 5:785.

[33] From our Eschatology J-term, I believe Dr. Norris and I agree that God will save the “remnant of Israel” through their obedience to Acts 2:38. Thus, I would include the “remnant of Israel” with the church.

[34] Also see: Rom 8:33–34; Col 3:12; 2 Tim 2:10; Titus 1:1; and 1 Pet 1:1–2 where “the elect” refers exclusively to the NT church.

[36] William K. Harrison, “The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures. [4].” BSac 115 (1958): 206.

[37] Rev 4:2.

[38] Rev 1:10.

[39] Cf. Rev 10:2.

[40] Grant R. Osbourne, Revelation, BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 224–25.

[41] Michael J. Svigel, “The Apocalypse of John and the Rapture of the Church: A Reevaluation,” TJ 22 (2001): 30.

[42] Keith H. Essex, “The Rapture and the Book of Revelation,” MSJ 13 (2002): 227.

[43] ANF, 7:352.

[44] Harrison, “Time of the Rapture [4],” 203.

[45] Col 1:25–27; 2:2–3.

[46] In one form or another, Ephesians contains approximately 75 of the 105 verses in Colossians.

[47] The “mystery of Christ” is “the mystery of God,” according to Col 2:2–3.

[48] Eph 3:4–7.

[49] 1 Cor 12:13.

[50] W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Nashville: Royal Pub. Inc., 198?), 769.

[51] Cf. John 14:17; Acts 2:33, 39; Rom 8:9; Phil 1:19.
[52] Osbourne, Revelation, 444–45.

[53] James O. Buswell, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1963), 2:458–59.

[54] Which assumes the resurrection or “time of the dead,” Rev 11:18.

[55] Cf. 2 Thess 2:8; Rev 11:18, “destroy those who destroy the earth.”

[56] Robert Gundry, First the Antichrist: A Book for Lay Christians Approaching the Third Millennium and Inquiring Whether Jesus Will Come to Take the Church out of the World before the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997), 88, 131.

[57] Dean, “2 Thessalonians 2:1–3,” 207.

[58] Dean views the rapture and Christ’s Parousia as two individual events separated by several years.

[59] Space will not permit an exegesis of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. Please refer to my oral presentation for the traditional interpretation of the Seventy Weeks fulfilled in Christ’s crucifixion at the First Advent.

[60] Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 573.

[61] Ibid., 579.

[62] Cf. Rom 8:38; 1 Cor 3:22; 7:2; Gal 1:4; 2 Tim 3:1; Heb 9:9.

[63] A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 4:48.

[64] See ASV BBE, CEB, DBY, JUB, KJV, NRSV, etc. Even the translation “has come” does not necessitate past action but indicates an event as “present.” Paul gives no indication that the Thessalonians believed that they had “missed” the church’s gathering together unto Christ.

[65] NIDNTT, 2:901; cf. 2 Thess 3:10.

[66] Moo, “A Case for the Posttribulation Rapture,” 210.

[67] William Harrsion, “The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures [2].” BSac 115 (1958): 113.

[68] Cf. Joel 2:28–31; see my “Eschatology Response Paper 3” for further exegesis.

[69] Cf. 1 Cor 1:7–8.

[70] Cf 1 Cor 13:9–10.

[71] Cf. 1 Cor 1:7–9; 15:23–24.

[72] Cf. Rev 10:7.

[73] Cf. 1 Cor 13:12; 1 John 3:2; Rev 22:4.

[74] Rev 7:14.

[75] Cf. Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16; 1 Cor 6:11. Even Dr. Norris admitted in Eschatology J-term that tribulated saints will obey Acts 2:38 salvation through baptism in Jesus’s name and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

[76] Cf. Rom 6:3–4; Gal 3:27.

[77] Cf. 1 Cor 12:13.

[78] Cf. Eph 4:4–5.

[79] Cf. 1 Thess 5:9.

[80] Cf. Rom 2:5.

[81] Grundy, First the Antichrist, 51–2.

[82] Cf. Rev 20:4–5.

[83] Cf. Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29; James 2:19.

[84] Cf. Rev 20:5–6, 14 “the second death.”