Searching for the Rapture in Olivet Discourse

September 21, 2016

Having a brief conversation with the family, the discussion of the Rapture was brought up. (yeah by me) I was curious if the family believed in the pre/mid/post rapture. Adamantly, they all called for the pre-tribulation rapture stance. I was simply commenting, I first thought that, but no longer. Well, most know some discussions become passionate. Taking their advice to ‘read’ my bible, I thought it would be good to write out my findings and why I have come to believe in a post tribulation rapture.

It should be noted, nowhere does the bible state ‘rapture’. The English word “rapture” is derived from the Latin verb “Rapere” meaning “to carry off,” or “to catch up.” The idea of the rapture became popular in the 19th century through the teachings on premillennialism and dipensationalism by John Nelson Darby, an Irish evangelist. This idea continued to grow through the Jesus Movement in the 60’s and 70’s. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins based the book series, “Left Behind” off the premise of a pre-tribulation rapture. This, I believe, is why so many currently believes in a pre-tribulation rapture to occur.

Before I continue,  I need to provide some definitions to provide a construct for my findings.

 

Defining Tribulation:

Online Merriam Webster defines tribulation as:

  • : unhappiness, pain, or suffering

  • : an experience that causes someone to suffer

Wikipedia defines Great Tribulation as:

In Christian eschatology, the great tribulation (Greek: θλίψις μεγάλη, thlipsis megalē) is a period mentioned by Jesus in the Olivet discourse as a sign that would occur in the time of the end.[1] At Revelation 7:14, “the great tribulation” (Greek: τῆς θλίψεως τῆς μεγάλης, literally, “the tribulation, the great one”) is used to indicate the period spoken of by Jesus.[2] Matthew 24: 21, 29 uses tribulation (θλίβω) in a context denoting afflictions of those hard-pressed by siege and the calamities of war.[3]

 

When discussion the Rapture, we refer to the “Great Tribulation”, the last 7 years on planet earth, prior to Christ return. This is the prophecy Jeremiah mentions (Jer. 30:4-6) as Jacob’s trouble. It is also known as the seventieth week of Daniel. Let’s look at the olivet passage referring to the ‘Great Tribuluation’ then later the full passage to see what is exactly told to us.

 

We see it also in the New Testament. Italics mine for emphasis.

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall
be shortened.” Matthew 24: 21

 

Defining Pre/Mid/Post Tribulation Rapture:

• Pre-tribulational rapture:

The belief believers in Christ will be ‘snatched’ away before the 7 year (Great Tribulation).

• Mid-tribulational rapture:

The belief believers in Christ will be ‘snatched’ away after 3 1/2 years or midway in the  7 year (Great Tribulation).

• Post-tribulational rapture:

The belief believers in Christ will be ‘snatched’ away at the end of the 7 year (Great Tribulation).

 

Now that we have some definition for our discussion, let’s begin.

 

Let’s look at Matthew 24:30.

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

kai; CONJ tovte ADV fanhvsetai V-2FPI-3S to; T-NSN shmei’on N-NSN tou’ T-GSM uiJou’ N-GSM tou’ T-GSM ajnqrwvpou N-GSM ejn PREP oujranw’/, N-DSM kai; CONJ tovte ADV kovyontai V-FDI-3P pa’sai A-NPF aiJ T-NPF fulai; N-NPF th’? T-GSF gh’? N-GSF kai; CONJ o~yontai V-FDI-3P to;n T-ASM uiJo;n N-ASM tou’ T-GSM ajnqrwvpou N-GSM ejrcovmenon V-PNP-ASM ejpi; PREP tw’n T-GPF nefelw’n N-GPF tou’ T-GSM oujranou’ N-GSM meta; PREP dunavmew? N-GSF kai; CONJ dovxh? pollh’?: A-GSF

Let’s break this down.

“And then” is used conveying the sign of the Son of man in heaven be seen. Some things must occur prior to this verse, and prior to the Son of man comes. The identity of the Son of man is Jesus Christ. So we see the coming of Christ with power and great glory.

“then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn” indicates those on the earth at this time will realize or be aware of Christ. This is interesting, because we have those currently refusing or in non-belief Christ even existed. While this may not be indicative of every individual, ‘all the tribes’ does convey the world will know of Christ.

Let’s look at the verses prior of Matthew 24:30 to see if we can see what occurs prior of Christ’s return.

Matthew 24:29

29 Immediately*#ste after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Eujqevw? ADV de; CONJ meta; PREP th;n T-ASF qli’yin N-ASF tw’n T-GPM hJmerw’n N-GPF ejkeivnwn, D-GPF oJ T-NSM h&lio? N-NSM skotisqhvsetai, V-FPI-3S kai; CONJ hJ T-NSF selhvnh N-NSF ouj PRT dwvsei V-FAI-3S to; T-ASN fevggo? N-ASN aujth’?, P-GSF kai; CONJ oiJ T-NPM ajstevre? N-NPM pesou’ntai V-FNI-3P ajpo; PREP tou’ T-GSM oujranou’, N-GSM kai; CONJ aiJ T-NPF dunavmei? N-NPF tw’n T-GPM oujranw’n N-GPM saleuqhvsontai. V-FPI-3P

Let’s break this down.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days.”  We see this sets up certain events will occur after the tribulation (Great Tribulation/7 years/Jacob’s trouble).

Events to occur between the tribulation (prior vs 29) and Christ’s return (verse 30)

  • Sun will be darkened
  • Moon not give her light
  • Stars fall from heaven
  • Powers of heaven will be shaken

 

We find in Matthew 24: verse 23 through 28, Jesus warns to not believe anyone if they say Christ is found on the earth, prior of His arrival in the clouds.

 

Matthew 24:22

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

kai; CONJ eij COND mh; PRT ejkolobwvqhsan V-API-3P aiJ T-NPF hJmevrai N-NPF ejkei’nai, D-NPF oujk PRT a^n PRT ejswvqh V-API-3S pa’sa A-NSF savrx: dia; PREP de; CONJ tou;? T-APM ejklektou;? A-APM kolobwqhvsontai V-FPI-3P aiJ T-NPF hJmevrai N-NPF ejkei’nai. D-NPF

Let’s break this down.

We see ‘no flesh will be saved’ unless the ‘day’s shall be shortened’. There is speculation what this means, involving current transhumanism. But that is for another discussion.

 

Matthew 24:21

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

e~stai V-FXI-3S ga;r CONJ tovte ADV qli’yi? N-NSF megavlh A-NSF oi&a R-NSF ouj PRT gevgonen V-2RAI-3S ajpj PREP ajrch’? N-GSF kovsmou N-GSM e&w? CONJ tou’ T-GSM nu’n ADV oujdj ADV ouj PRT mh; PRT gevnhtai. V-2ADS-3S

Let’s break this down.

We are finally getting somewhere. “For then shall be great tribulation”. We see here, again, additional events occur prior to the great tribulation. The verse goes on to say this great tribulation will be so bad, the world has never witnessed anything like it before. Think about that for a moment. All the wars, atrocities, across all the ages will not compare to these last days (Great Tribulation/7 years/Jacob’s trouble).

 

Matthew 24: verse 15 through 20 is interesting.  Verse 15 speaks of the abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel, sitting in the holy place.  Verses 16 through 20 warns those inhabitants of Judea, to flee into the mountains. This is indicative of a specific location, not Christians of the whole world. There is a lot of discussion online where the belief Christians should run to the woods.

The passage in Luke 21 mirrors this warning, also referencing Judea.

Luke 21:20-24And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

 

Matthew verse 16 and Luke verse 21 clearly identifies inhabitants of Judea. This area of land is a mountainous southern part of Palestine.

 

Judea or Judæa (/ˈd.ə/;[1] from Hebrew: יהודה‎‎, Standard Yəhuda Tiberian Yəhûḏāh, Greek: Ἰουδαία, Ioudaía; Latin: IVDÆA, Arabic: يهودا‎‎, Yahudia) is the ancient biblical, Roman, and modern name of the mountainous southern part of Palestine. The name originates from the Hebrew, Canaanite and later neo-Babylonian and Persian name “Yehudah” or “Yehud” for the biblical Israelite tribe of Judah (Yehudah) and associated Kingdom of Judah, which the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia dates from 934 until 586 BCE.[2] The name of the region continued to be incorporated through the Babylonian conquest, Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods as Yehud,Yehud Medinata, Hasmonean Judea, and consequently Herodian Judea and Roman Judea, respectively. [Per Wikipedia]

Let’s take a moment to review Matthew 24:15.

 

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand#st2476 in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand🙂

&otan CONJ ou\n CONJ i~dhte V-2AAS-2P to; T-ASN bdevlugma N-ASN th’? T-GSF ejrhmwvsew? N-GSF to; T-ASN rJhqe;n V-APP-ASN dia; PREP Danih;l N-PRI tou’ T-GSM profhvtou N-GSM eJsto;? V-2RAP-ASN ejn PREP tovpw/ N-DSM aJgivw/, A-DSM oJ T-NSM ajnaginwvskwn V-PAP-NSM noeivtw, V-PAM-3S

Let’s break this down.

The abomination of desolation is commonly believed to be the AntiChrist. A figure that will come out of the shadows and make peace with all, albeit a pseudo-peace. A 7 year peace treaty will also be provided to Israel. This is where we get the last 7 years on Earth. The idea is half-way through, 3 1/2 years into the treaty, the AntiChrist will break the treaty, and sit himself up as God. Thus the abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel.

“Stand in the holy place”. The holy place is commonly believed to be set in the Temple of Jerusalem. Thus, many believe a new temple will be resurrected by the Jews, where the ancient form of sacrifice will be made again.

Whether this is true or not, there will be a significant, noticeable, change at this time. When those  in Judea see this occurrence, they should flee.

Moving further up, Matthew 24:14 comments the end will come, only after this gospel is spread throughout the world. Verse 13 informs us those enduring the prior times till the end will be saved. This tells us, there will be some that will make it though the events up to verse 15.

Matthew verse 9 through 14 tells us during the beginning of sorrows (verse 8), those believing in Christ will be afflicted, hated and killed, by all nations. We are not there quite yet, but I fear close. There are already genocides being done to Christians in the third world. America is falling into a third world state now.

verse 7 provides us specific events to occur, that will begin these days of sorrows.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

ejgerqhvsetai V-FPI-3S ga;r CONJ e~qno? N-ASN ejpi; PREP e~qno? N-ASN kai; CONJ basileiva N-NSF ejpi; PREP basileivan, N-ASF kai; CONJ e~sontai V-FXI-3P limoi; N-NPM kai; CONJ seismoi; N-NPM kata; PREP tovpou?: N-APM

.Breaking down verse seven we see these things will occur:

  1. Nation against nation
  2. Kingdom against kingdom
  3. Famines
  4. Pestilences
  5. Earthquakes (all these things in many places)

Verse 6 tells us, when we hear wars, rumors of wars, we should be troubled, because the end is not yet.

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

mellhvsete V-FAI-2P de; CONJ ajkouvein V-PAN polevmou? N-APM kai; CONJ ajkoa;? N-APF polevmwn: N-GPM oJra’te, V-PAM-2P mh; PRT qroei’sqe: V-PPM-2P dei’ V-PQI-3S ga;r CONJ genevsqai, V-2ADN ajll# CONJ ou~pw ADV ejsti;n V-PXI-3S to; T-NSN tevlo?. N-NSN

Verse 4, Jesus didn’t want those disciples, or those reading this gospel to be deceived. He warned in verse 5, many will be deceived by those calling themselves Christ.

Verse 3 is when the disciples inquire when is the end of the world.

 

So we broke down the Oliviet Discourse working our way backward. Below is the events from start to finish.

  1. Wars and Rumour of Wars to occur
  2. Verse 7 gives us the result of those wars
    1. Nation against nation
    2. Kingdom against kingdom
    3. Famines
    4. Pestilences
    5. Earthquakes (all these things in many places)
  3. This is the beginning of Sorrows
  4. Abomination of Desolation will be in the holy place
    1. This is believed to be the breaking of the 7 year peace treaty
  5. When this occurs  inhabitants of Judea should run
  6. This also brings on the ‘Great Tribulation’
  7. For the elect’s sake, the days are shortened
  8. After the Tribulation these events will immediately occur
    1. Sun will be darkened
    2. Moon not give her light
    3. Stars fall from heaven
    4. Powers of heaven will be shaken
  9. Then Christ returns to Earth and those remaining will mourn
    1. Those believers dead (asleep) will rise first
    2. Those believers alive will then be pulled up

 

Reviewing these events in Matthew 24, I cannot find any reference to being Raptured prior or midway through the Great Tribulation.

#authorMattCole

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