Most today refer to our Lord’s coming as the Rapture, because their timing doesn’t fit well in the “coming” teachings of Scripture as the Coming that is taught there. According to Trimm, to believe in a Coming different than a post-Trib Coming would necessarily require that a third Coming be taught in Scripture. Why is this? Listen:
They also said, “ Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:11 NASB
I have on occasion heard some among the various “pre” teachers say: “you see just as He went up in the clouds, so He will come back in the clouds to rapture His own, and take us home to be with Him.” They fail to remember that He left from earth and will return to earth when He comes in like manner.
The pre-Trib teacher will also appeal to the different Greek words used for His coming to turn this coming into an appearance. Sometimes a secrete appearance. But they cannot explain the fact that the rapture has strong ties with His coming to earth, which is most often referred to by the believer as the second coming. The Rapture they say is imminent, but the next Coming to earth of Messiah has a definite set date by the Father, with definite signs. They emphasize the fact that we do not know the date, but they forget that we do know the signs. They ignore the signs due to the Imminence factor, but Imminence is associated with the signs.
One writer states the following when speaking of the Greek word Parousia, meaning coming.
“The Parousia is a theological concept that comes from the Greek word parousia meaning “coming” or “presence.” In the study of Bible prophecy, the term Parousia is used in reference to the Coming of Jesus Christ.
In some cases, the Parousia is used in reference to the time when Jesus Christ comes to rapture His people to be with Him…In other cases, the Parousia refers to Christ’s return at the end of the seven-year tribulation period.”
This comes from compellingtruth.org
Notice that in this writers understanding, the Parousia to earth is called the “return” in this statement, while the the Rapture is when Jesus “comes”. Yet scripture states that His return or coming will be the same way that we saw Him go.
So to the pre-Trib understanding the Parousia (Coming) does not have a significant or the same meaning and this is why Trimm says that to believe this way there must be three comings taught in scripture.
Why are those Parousia references in Scripture, which refer to the Rapture not meaningful in determining the Rapture’s timing? Especially when we see the Lord’s next Coming or His return, which ever, associated with this gathering or Rapture?
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, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
1 Thessalonians 4:15 NASB
Notice that the coming associated with the rapture here is not referred to as the next Coming as one would think that it would be were there, yet, to be two more comings. So the fact that we remain until this coming is insignificant or left unclear or subject to debate purposefully by Dispensationalists, who insist that the rapture and second coming are unrelated. But this is not really the case in Scripture. To a dispensationalist it doesn’t mean what is said here. In fact any other perspective then the post-Trib, must disassociate one from the other — the rapture from the coming, even though His coming is foremost in these verses.
What Dispensationalist’s cannot explain is why The Holy Spirit when inspiring these teachings has them to be understood as having a looked for “Coming” associated with this “rapture”.
So, in fact there must be three comings if the pre-Trib position is correct. But never is the Lord’s coming after the Ascension called anything but His Coming — a future event.
The Rapture therefore is the buzz word used for Christ’s next Coming by pre-Tribulationists, because to them it is not really a Coming, but an appearance. It is the most talked about future event, which is really not the main event in Scripture. The coming of our Lord to earth is His main event. So the Parousia is translated as coming or presence. By them, the rapture is believed to be Christ’s only Coming with Imminent significance to them, but it is really only an appearance in the clouds, or His coming as a thief, depending on who within Dispensationalism is doing the teaching. Yet it is seen and taught by them as His next Coming. — The next event on the calendar. Meaning there are yet two comings.
When I was a young man, I used to marvel at the thought of Jesus Coming at any moment. Oliver Green used to explain over the radio waves the rapture as Jesus Coming as a thief and the second coming as His coming in the clouds. The reason the thief Coming was associated with the Rapture was due to the argument that the Thief Coming is associated with the Day of the Lord. And the day of the Lord was believed by them to start with the Tribulation, and it still is thought to be this way by most. Yet I later learned that both, the prophets, Joel and Isaiah, teach this day of the Lord to begin after the darkening of the sun, moon and Stars, and Jesus says this is the sign of His coming following Tribulation in Matthew 24.
Scripture teaches that Jesus’ place today is at the right hand of the Father; just as our place today is in this world, but we are not any longer to be of the world. Does Jesus “at the right hand of the Father”, mean that Jesus must remain seated on a Throne next to His Father until He comes. Obviously not, He appeared to Paul on the Damascus road, there is testimony that He has miraculously appeared to others, yet His abode until He comes back is to be with the Father in heaven. Peter in his second sermon following Christ’s ascension, recorded in Acts 3, while preaching it to the (men of Israel verse 12), said this:
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
Acts 3:19-21 NASB
Notice that there is a presence spoken of in this verse, but it is not the Greek word “Parousia”, because the coming of the Lord follows this presence — “that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you”.
So, here again we are told that heaven has received Christ until a very specific time. We know that Israel’s salvation (His presence in them in the same way that it is in us) is taught by Paul as the final completion of God’s Olive Tree, who’s root is Messiah (the Christ). This message by Peter in Acts confirms that this event in Israel’s history will bring completion in God’s plan for all prophesied events from this age effecting mankind. Scripture here informs us that until then Messiah remains in Heaven, and believers on earth who will see Jew’s added back to the Olive tree, will remain here on earth until Christ comes as He was taken.
15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
John 17:15,20-21 NASB
Jesus was praying for His Jewish disciples, and for us His future believers, both Jews and Gentiles. Why would Jesus pray this prayer, and then take us out of the world at the very time He is making His final call to mankind including to the Jews to come unto Him? Why if through us He wants the world to believe, would He remove us at this most crucial time in the history of the world that we are in but not of? This will be the time of the consummation of things.
The Tribulation as a time period has nothing to do with the receiving of God’s wrath. It has everything to do with the announcing of His coming and the announcement of His wrath to come, which are both taking place during the time of The Tribulation, but are yet to come with the appearance of the Lord Jesus. Hear are the descriptions of His coming from Revelation.
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;
Revelation 6:13-16 NASB
By this time in these men’s lives spoken of here, we believers will be finished with our work. We as a unified body will have been spreading the gospel throughout the world, and with these final events, the appearing (the coming) of Messiah and the Rapture, it will suddenly dawn on all men who remain on the face of the earth that what they were told is true. The hour which we the bride will escape has just come.
And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
Revelation 11:18 NASB
The Seventh Trumpet has sounded. The coming as explained here has occurred.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he *said to me, “ Write, ‘ Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “ These are true words of God.” Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” 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.
Revelation 19:7-11 NASB
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; KJV
If this is (not) true then the scriptures elsewhere should clearly bear out that the pre-Trib raptures theory is true. And the scriptures should teach a pre-trib “appearance” without a coming of Messiah attached. One which is not a “coming of the Messiah”, but which is then to be followed by a post trib “coming of the Messiah.” For a Post-Trib coming of Messiah is definitely taught, and it does include a rapture of Saints, with whom the scripture in Ephesians says that we are one with.
Yet the third coming is not what we see in scripture. What we see is Jesus’ coming associated with the rapture, without any explanation of a third coming.
One cannot watch for an event for which there are no signs. One can only speculate about a coming of which no one knows the day or hour, unless there are signs attached, in order that we may know the times and seasons of such an event and be able to look for it.
The Great Tribulation is a sign, but only because it is greater than the other Tribulations that we are promised will occur in God’s word. It will be greater in that it will effect all people’s and all believers, and the events surrounding it will be greater — greater persecution, greater earthquakes; greater lawlessness; greater catastrophic events; greater signs in the air, on earth and at sea; greater hatred; greater suffering; greater falling away; greater deception; greater death tolls; greater unity among believers; greater expectation of our Lord’s return for it will then be truly imminent.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
Revelation 12:11 NASB
If you have studied the posts on this blog, then you will know that this all fits together as revealed in God’s word as posted under the “prophecy” heading on this blog.
May God bless you as you study.