Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
This one thing you know for sure, Paul here was telling us the day of the Resurrection and Rapture. These passages speak for the Christ.
If we have hope in Christ in this life only we are of all men most to be pitied. 1 Cor 15:19
Apparently there were believers in Paul’s day who were being convinced by others that there would be no Resurrection. Jesus had even spoken to this question. We will look at that later. But, In our day believers are being convinced that only the Rapture constitutes the blessed hope of the Believer. And that becomes a big deal for them. Those who only have hope for this life are of all men to be most pitied (I am substituting the Rapture here for life, because the Raptures effects are only for the living). Seems a bit unfortunate to me because it tends to leave the dead in Christ without hope. So once we die we no longer have hope of a resurrection? Is that really the message that we and Jesus would want us to project to the world? Their focus then tends toward the selfish and an escape the Great Tribulation mentality, when in fact Jesus told us to expect Tribulation in this world.
To the rest of us our blessed hope is the Resurrection, because the resurrection is for all believers and the Rapture must follow it for only those fortunate enough to be alive at one moment in time. Of course, should we actually be here at the time of Rapture we will certainly welcome it, because it will be on the heals of terrible earthly conditions. That’s what we are told of this the day of the Lord itself by Joel. But please Listen to Paul’s focus here in these scriptures:
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. vs 20
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His Coming. Vs 23
For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. Vs 21-22
Paul’s emphasis concerning Jesus is definitely resurrection, not Rapture when writing on this subject and certainly not just Rapture even when writing about the Rapture.
in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men (in Christ is the understood condition here, for it is only in Christ that there is salvation for any man), instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
Titus 2:7-8,11-13 NASB
The blessed hope obviously involves the time of His coming and the resurrection of all men from this age who are in Christ at His appearing. The Rapture only follows that resurrection for those alive at that moment in time. And no man knows the day or the hour.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the Trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 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.
Then there is the great debate over this Trumpet. But it is so obvious when read in light of other text, when it will come.
Then the seventh angel sounded; 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 will reign forever and ever.”
(“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.
Revelation 16:15-16 NASB
Yes, Jesus has told us more than once that this day will come following Armageddon and Tribulation.
Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness.
Joel 3:12-15 NASB
And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “ Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
Revelation 14:15-16 NASB
24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
Mark 13:24-27 NASB
See our article: Determining from Scripture Just Who Are The Elect of God. (Mar 28, 2018)
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. Revelation 19:11-15 NASB
I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they * said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Revelation 6:12-17 NASB
There are signs that tell us of the timing of these prophetic events and it is not where they are located within Scripture, but what those prophetic signs reveal.
“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.
Daniel 7:13-14 NASB
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:13-17 NASB
It is these the saved from Great Tribulation who are obviously in Christ but who those of the pre-Trib Rapture movement want us to precede in the Rapture rather than follow as scripture teaches. But just as Great is the error that they make in their attempt to rule over these saints who come out of Great Tribulation. Yet here it plainly lets us know that they will not be ruled by us.
It is also these Tribulation saints made up of Jews and Gentiles who are according to them to be made by God to offer up animal sacrifice in the Kingdom age Temple. But is this what the word of God really says? Listen:
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
Zechariah 14:16 NASB
There is a great deal of confusion taking place over Temple sacrifices that are to be offered in the Kingdom age. First let’s examine what Jesus said to the Jews of this our agewhen teaching on this Resurrection.
Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.”
Luke 20:34-38 NASB
So what is Jesus telling these Jews? He is certainly not telling them that all Jews will be offering sacrifices. If all of the saved Jews are worthy to attain to the resurrection they will all be as the sons of God. We also possess that same promise with them to be sons of God. So neither will we be offering these sacrifices.
But we did just see in Zachariah 14:16 that it will be the nations who remain who came up against Jerusalem in battle who will come up year after year to celebrate the feasts. And sacrifices will be part of those feasts. We see this in both Zachariah and in Ezekiel. There are also indications in Ezekiel 39-48 where it is made clear that there will be Jews offering up and possibly making Temple sacrifices as well, in fact scripture tells us that there will be unsaved Jews who do not know their Messiah at the time of His return, who are brought up to Jerusalem on the shoulders of the Gentiles. These are all unsaved peoples who will make animal sacrifices during the Millennium for sin. Read the last 5 chapters of Ezekiel. These are sin offerings even for the princes. Yet, all of the saved of Tribulation are either Resurrected or Raptured to be sons of God.
If you wish to know more about the unsaved nations of the Kingdom then read the blog post titled: Are the Mortal Nations Entering The MILLENNIUM From Tribulation Saved? (Mar 22, 2018).
Please post or email me your questions. Thanks for reading. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org