“God delivers His own before His judgment falls.”
Ron Rhodes looks to Scripture, specifically 1 Thessalonians, for why the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ are believed to be distinct events in the end-times calendar.
“Scripture interprets Scripture. And when you look at all the verses that deal with the rapture and all the verses that deal with the second coming, it does seem to me that they are distinct.”
In 1 Thessalonians 1 and 5:9, Paul says the Church will be delivered from the wrath to come.
“There’s a definite article there in the Greek, referring to a specific period of wrath. Not just general wrath, but a specific wrath that is yet to come in the future.”
God has a long history of delivering His people before judgment falls. Noah and Lot are examples of this.
“I don’t think that God punishes the same sin twice. Christ purchased me and He died for my sins just like He purchased the entire church. Why would God purchase the church and then punish the church for seven years even though the sins have already been paid for?”
The purpose of the Tribulation is to judge unbelieving nations; the Church is not present in that picture. When Christ comes in the second coming, He will come with the armies of Heaven. This includes all Christians who were raptured seven years prior.
This debate is going to continue probably right on up till the second coming. While we can discuss the details, we shouldn’t divide over them. The over-arching truth is that Jesus is coming back for His people, there will be a time of great judgment, and Jesus will put all things right.
“Christ comes right as the antichrist is moving against the Jewish remnant that repents and turns to the Lord, and they recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and Christ comes and delivers them. And that’s going to be awesome.”
Featured Songs: Made New by Lincoln Brewster; Boldly I Approach Your Throne by Rend Collective; Touch the Sky by Hillsong