Brothers and sisters! There are many theories surrounding the rapture, but we know that God’s Word is not a theory, but the undoubted truth. Hence why only one truth exists, which is why we must always turn towards God’s word for help. To begin, one of our questions is when will the rapture occur, before or after the “great tribulation”? To find our answer, we must first clarify what is the great tribulation. Let’s start with these verses:
„For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with
seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly
distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);”
Lot was tormented day after day, in other words, he was in tribulation. We can see that God did not spare him from tribulation, but knowing what happened afterwards, Lot and his family were delivered by God! But what were they delivered from? Their tribulations? No, as he lived through that day after day. He was delivered from the wrath of God!
„Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "There is peace and
security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are
not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the
breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one
another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Did we pay attention to the beginning of these verses? Clearly, Paul was writing about the rapture and what I want to highlight from these verses is the following:
„For God has not destined us for wrath…”
As I have mentioned already, Lot and his family were delivered from the wrath of God. The wrath will be upon those who live an ungodly life. God delivers the ones who are righteous in His eyes, as God will not unleash His wrath upon those who live according to His will. That would be unrighteousness from God, and God is the most righteous above all!
Next, let’s look at Noah’s story. There was a great ungodliness in his time, the land was filled with wickedness and Noah was very likely tormented at the sight of their wickedness. But what happened to him later on? God delivered him, spared from His wrath which struck the entire land as a flood. Something else happened there as well, but we will return to this later.
We can see through the verses, that there is a big difference between tribulation and the wrath of God. Looking at either Lot’s or Noah’s case, we can see that their tribulations were caused by ungodly people, later on these righteous people were delivered from the wrath of God, while the ungodly perished. God preserved the righteous ones among the unrighteous, until the destruction was unleashed upon them. But why does God postpone this until the very end?
„Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?”
The righteous ones shine in the darkness, hence why He does not take us out of this world, but He protects us until the very end. Jesus’ words must be mentioned regarding this:
„I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."”
The Lord does not promise us that our lives will be free of tribulations; in fact He reinforces the idea that we will take part in it. But this is natural, as there are more ungodly than righteous, and the righteous ones will be tormented at the sight of all the ungodliness. So the question was “will God deliver us from the great tribulation?” The answer is, not before the great tribulation, instead we will be delivered from the wrath of God!
In the book of Revelation, we read about the opening of 7 seals, 7 angels blowing trumpets, three „woe”s which are part of the last three trumpet blows, and the golden bowls filled with the wrath of God comes next. Regarding the trumpets, Paul wrote the following:
„Behold! I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”
At the last trumpet! Paul actually told us a secret, and this will be a key to unlock the meaning behind what we read in the book of Revelation:
„but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
Before the seventh trumpet blow happens, the word of God talks about the mystery of God would be fulfilled. What is this mystery?
„"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in
clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. "From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you
know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not
pass away. "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.”
Neither the angels, nor the Son knows about it! This mystery is the time of the rapture. Let’s read about God’s mystery in the book of Revelation:
„Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders who sit on
their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth." Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were
flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. ”
The Ark of the Covenant! The testimony of our covenant with God! The bride (Church of God) has arrived to her Husband in a clean white robe! We found out from Paul that we will be raptured on the final trumpet blow, and comparatively reading in Revelation, we can see that this will be the 7th trumpet, when the mystery of God which is not even known to the Son will be fulfilled: the church of God will be raptured. After the 7th trumpet, the 7 golden bowls of wrath will begin, when the wrath of God is poured on earth. God will deliver us from this, as we have read it beforehand: „For God has not destined us for wrath…”
It’s essential that we at least mention a few thoughts regarding the time of when the 7 golden bowls will be poured out. During this time, there will be believers too, the 144,000 sealed saints will be present, and angels will be evangelizing as well. The plagues from the 7 golden bowls will only strike the ones who received the mark of the beast and worship it, because God will not strike His wrath upon the ones who are true before Him. Furthermore, God commands His children to do the following:
„Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;”
Now let’s return to the story of Noah, as I promised to come back to it. The Word of God testifies the book of Jasher, at two specific locations; the book is referred to by its name, and we can find many references about it scattered across the entire Scripture. In the book of Jasher, we find a more detailed look into Noah’s story, that before the flood, God delivered the ones who walked on His path (by death):
„And the Lord said, I will blot out man that I created from the face of the earth, yea from man to the birds of the air, together with cattle and beasts that are in the field for I repent that I made them. And all men who walked in the ways of
the Lord, died in those days, before the Lord brought the evil upon man which he had declared, for this was from the Lord, that they should not see the evil which the Lord spoke of concerning the sons of men. And Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord, and the
Lord chose him and his children to raise up seed from them upon the face of the whole earth.”
(Book of Jasher 4,19-21)
The Lord never changes, and as He protected His children from His wrath, the same way He will protect His children in this era, because we are not the children of wrath. Lastly, here is our final verse:
„The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.”
Author: Antal Farkas