Does the Bible Teach a Pre-Tribulation Rapture?

(3rd article in the Deceptive Doctrines Series)

In this series we’ve been discussing the false doctrines of the Pre-Trib or Futurist end time view.

We’ve seen that this view was created by a Jesuit priest in order to divert our attention from Rome as the seat of Antichrist.  We’ve also seen that many of its doctrines come from a perverted interpretation of Daniel 9:27.  

When Christ is replaced with the Antichrist in this passage, the Messianic value of it is lost.

Daniel 9:27 is trying to tell us that JESUS is the one who makes the SACRIFICE AND THE OBLATION TO CEASE, not the Antichrist (see my article, Does the Bible Teach a 7 Year Tribulation Period?).  

When we don’t understand this, we buy into several more false doctrines:

1.  That GOD reestablished the state of Israel in 1948.
2.  That ethnic Jews are God’s “chosen people”.
3.  That God’s “chosen people” will build a temple to reinstitute the very sacrificial system that Jesus died to destroy.
4.  That the church will be raptured BEFORE a 7 year tribulation period.

Note:  I will address points 1, 2, and 3 in future articles.  I will address point 4 in this article.

When we don’t get Daniel 9:27 RIGHT we open our hearts to the “doctrine of Balaam” (see my article, Introduction: The Great Deception).

God’s Vision for the End Time Church

In this article, I want to talk about God’s VISION for the end time church.  Is it His vision for the church to ESCAPE tribulation?  Or is it His plan for her to ENDURE tribulation?

Let’s begin by defining the church.  Who is the church?

The church is anyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ regardless of whether they are called, saints, the elect, servants, or martyrs.  All of these designators are seen in the book of Revelation.

The church is also called the Bride of Christ.

In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul talks about the relationship Christ has with the church and Christ’s goal of presenting the church to himself without stain or wrinkle.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless
Ephesians 5:25-27

But what gets the Bride ready?

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (WITHOUT STAIN OR WRINKLE), wanting nothing.
James 1:2-4

Tribulation gets the Bride ready.

But what about END TIME TRIBULATION?  Does God use end time tribulation to get the Bride ready?

The book of Revelation says it does.  Concerning the Beast (Antichrist) it says:

And it was given unto him (THE BEAST) to MAKE WAR WITH THE SAINTS, AND TO OVERCOME THEM: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.  If any man have an ear, let him hear.  He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. HERE IS THE PATIENCE AND THE FAITH OF THE SAINTS.
Revelation 13:7,9-10

Here we see God using death to bring forth patience and faith in His saints.  Why would God allow His servants to be killed?

I believe it’s because the end time church has the SAME CALLING on their lives as Christ did when He was on the earth.

How the End Time Church’s Calling is the Same as Christ’s

1.  First of all, it’s interesting to note that the Lord’s earthly ministry is the same length as the Great Tribulation, the ministry period of the end time church— 3 1/2 years.  

But what was the Lord’s CALLING?  Why did He come?

2.  He came to RESTORE the Kingdom of God lost by the first man Adam.  He came to preach the gospel of the Kingdom.

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The KINGDOM OF GOD is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Mark 1:14-15

As it turns out the Kingdom of God did appear— but in the HEARTS of men.

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN you."
Luke 17:20-21

Jesus brings the INTERNAL Kingdom through us.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, BUT CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

But how is our calling the same as Christ’s?

3.  Where Christ, brought the INTERNAL Kingdom through His PURPOSEFUL death and resurrection.  The end time church brings the EXTERNAL Kingdom through it’s PURPOSEFUL death and resurrection.

In this, the end time church is MADE READY to marry.  Once the church completes it’s mission, it is raptured to meet the Lord in the air, POST tribulation.  Then together, Christ and His BRIDE come to earth.  They are married and participate in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  Once the celebration is complete, Christ sets up His Earthly Kingdom and the church moves into the 1000 year millennial reign with Christ.

There are exceptions to this, not ALL of the church will die during the Great Tribulation.

Who are the 144,000?

In Revelation 7 we see a SEAL of protection being placed on 144,000 servants of God from the 12 tribes of Israel (12,000 from each tribe x 12 = 144,000).

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an HUNDRED AND FORTY AND FOUR THOUSAND of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Revelation 7:4

Are we to believe that God will seal 144,000 ethnic Jews?  There are several reasons why this is NOT the case:

1.  The bloodlines of the 12 tribes of Israel have long been lost. When the 10 northern tribes of Israel were captured and taken to Assyria in 721 B.C., they never returned to Israel intact.  Those that later returned were intermarried and became known as Samaritans.  While some bloodlines from Judah and Benjamin can be accounted for, they would not be enough to fulfill this prophecy.

2.  Some say that God raises up 144,000 Jews from the past.  That can’t be true because in Hebrews 9:27 it say that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  I do not believe God brings BACK men to do his bidding.

So what‘s the answer?

1.  As I discussed in my article, Does the Bible Teach a 7 Year Tribulation Period, after the death of Christ, “the house of Israel was left desolate” (Matthew 23:38).  God had transitioned into His NEW COVENANT.

The Apostle Paul would explain this in several of his epistles.  Here are just a few examples:

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  BUT HE IS A JEW, WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Romans 2:28-29

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: FOR YE ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS.  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:28-29

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: BUT CHRIST IS ALL, AND IN ALL.
Colossians 3:11

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. FOR THEY ARE NOT ALL ISRAEL, WHICH ARE OF ISRAEL.
Romans 9:6

You see, the Bible teaches that once Christ died, ALL THOSE OF FAITH transitioned over to the new covenant.  God does not separate out the Jew and the Gentile anymore— we are all ONE.

Therefore, the Israel being discussed in Revelation 7, is the SPIRITUAL ISRAEL.  It’s the combined CHURCH.

This is how one Bible teacher explains it.

2.  The numbers are highly symbolic.  12 is the number of God’s Kingdom.

There are 12 gates to the new Jerusalem, 12 foundations, 12 kinds of fruit on the tree of life. There were 12 tribes of Israel from the Old Testament, 12 stones on the breastplate of the high priest, 12 patriarchs, 12 judges and of course the 12 apostles in the New Testament.  144,000 is the perfect multiple of 12, showing God’s perfection.  Could the number be exact?  Could there actually be 144,000 sealed servants.  Yes, or maybe more.  We just don’t know.

3.  They are firstfruits.

Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be A KIND OF FIRSTFRUITS of his creatures.
James 1:16-18

God considers ALL of those born in Him as FIRSTFRUITS.

In Revelation Jesus, the Lamb, refers to the 144,000 as firstfruits.  

These (the 144,000) were redeemed from among men, being the FIRSTFRUITS unto God and to the Lamb.
Revelation 14:4b

How Do the 144,000 Compare to the Saints that Die in the Great Tribulation?

The 144,000 are sealed to live— the saints die.  Is that fair?  To that I say, “God can do what He wants.”

Who are we to second guess God’s purpose?  Our attitude is to be as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who would not worship the golden image of the King even when threatened:

Our God whom we serve IS ABLE TO DELIVER US from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  BUT IF NOT, be it known unto thee, O king, that WE WILL NOT SERVE THY GOD, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Daniel 3:17-18

Our attitude should be the same.  Our God is able to deliver us, but if He doesn’t, we are willing to die.  It’s this kind of TRUST that shows the Lamb we are ready to be His bride.

And they overcame him (the Beast) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES UNTO DEATH.
Revelation 12:11

To Those That Teach the Doctrine of Balaam

What are we to say to the Futurists who teach the doctrine of Balaam?  They tell us what we want to hear.  They tell us we won’t have to endure tribulation.  They tell us we will be raptured out of tribulation then sit with Jesus at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

These are all lies that will produce a GREAT FALLING AWAY.  That’s what happens when what people think will happen— doesn’t.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.  And then shall many be OFFENDED, and shall BETRAY ONE ANOTHER, and shall hate one another.
Matthew 24:9-10


The Bible doesn’t teach a Pre-Tribulation rapture.  The idea of a Pre-tribulation rapture has been superimposed on scripture through the Roman Catholic Church and the doctrine of Balaam (see my article, Introduction: The Great Deception).

Quite simply, there is NO scripture to support it— not one!  However the Bible is filled with scripture that shows the church going through the Great Tribulation.  I’ve included a few below with my commentary.


Scripture #1:

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Revelation 6:9-11

Commentary on the above verse:

1.  With the opening of the 5th seal, we see souls IN HEAVEN asking God to avenge their blood.  These are souls that were killed in tribulation throughout time and possibly into the Great Tribulation.

2.  God says they will have to wait until the full number of their fellow servants have been killed.

The next scripture (Scripture #2) is more specific as to what timeframe their "fellow servants" were killed in (The Great Tribulation).

These souls and SERVANTS are definitely part of the church.

Scripture #2:

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which CAME OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Revelation 7:13-15 

Commentary on the above verse:

1.  This is a great multitude coming from every nation, tribe, people and language.  It SAYS they have come out of the Great Tribulation.  They are wearing WHITE ROBES.

2.  These souls have made themselves white in the blood of the Lamb.  Who could deny that they are part of the church?

Scripture #3:

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.  And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also OUR LORD was crucified.
Revelation 11:3-4, 7-8

Commentary on the above verse:

1.  Who are the Two Witnesses?  Revelation 11:10 tells us they are two prophets, but they are also referred to as two olive trees and two candlesticks.  The Apostle Paul discusses two olive trees in Romans 11:17-21.  The two olive trees represent two people groups made ONE through Christ (Jew and Gentile).  If the two witnesses are surviving during the time Great Tribulation (and they are), and the Jew and Gentile have been made ONE (they have)— then they are part of the CHURCH.

The fact that they are part of the church is further seen in that their bodies lay in the public square of the great city where OUR LORD was crucified (Jerusalem).

Scripture # 4:

Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were SEALED AN HUNDRED AND FORTY AND FOUR THOUSAND of all the tribes of the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
Revelation 7:3-4

Commentary on the above verse:

Who are the 144,000?

If the Two Witnesses are part of the church and the Two Witness are part of the 144,000, then the 144,000 are also part of the church.  The 144,000 are clearly part of the Great Tribulation as they are present during the 7 Trumpet judgements (Revelation 8:1-9:21).

I  have further explained who the 144,000 are earlier in this article.

Scripture #5:

He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries.  He avenged on her the BLOOD OF HIS SERVANTS.
Revelation 19:2

Commentary on the above verse:

1.  In this passage we see the Lord avenging SERVANTS that had spilled their blood during the Great Tribulation.

2.  That they are in the Great Tribulation is verifiable because they resisted the adulteries of the great prostitute, a major player in the Great Tribulation.