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Proof Positive

Avraham approached and said, ‘Will you actually sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Maybe there are fifty righteous people in the city; will you actually sweep the place away, and not forgive it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are there? Far be it from you to do such a thing — to kill the righteous along with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Shouldn’t the judge of all the earth do what is just?’ ~ Genesis 18:23-25, CJB

For God has not intended that we should experience his fury, but that we should gain deliverance through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who died on our behalf so that whether we are alive or dead, we may live along with him. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, CJB

In necessary things unity; in uncertain things freedom; in everything compassion. ~ Unknown Author; most often misattributed to Augustine

God help us all who call ourselves Christians, for even in a time such as this we still remain unable to become ONE. We primarily are divided by doctrines, issues, and practices. As a result, we who profess to be Your holy and righteous sons and daughters, joint-heirs with Your only begotten Son (Jesus the Christ), frequently end up treating each other like notorious enemies instead of like venerable brothers and sisters in Your Household of Faith.

There continues to be too much arguing among followers of Christ Jesus over doctrines, issues, and practices that neither are crucial to the Gospel of Christ nor to how anyone obtains eternal life (how someone is saved). Christians’ most commonly debated doctrines, issues, and practices include, but are not limited to: the Rapture, the Millennium, the Earth’s Age, Life on Other Planets, Food and Drink, Female Pastors, Observing the Sabbath vs. Worshipping on Sunday, Speaking in Tongues, Performing Miracles, and various legalistic Do’s and Don’ts (like going to the movies, dancing, smoking, drinking, playing cards, wearing makeup, and so forth).

How horrible our arguing with and our mistreatment of Body of Christ members must look to the unsaved world. No wonder the masses of lost souls in today’s world are not coming to Christ Jesus. Why would any of them want to be a part of this current 21st century body of believers who vehemently disagree with each other? These quarrelsome believers not only refuse to tolerate but also choose not to be civil to their brothers or sisters in Christ Jesus who think differently about things that usually have nothing to do with a person’s salvation nor with the Gospel of Christ!

If we agree on the essentials, yet disagree on the non-essentials, then let us learn how to agree to disagree without becoming/being disagreeable (unloving, compassionless, coldhearted, intolerable, argumentative, hostile, inhospitable, bad-tempered, grouchy, snarky, sarcastic, stubborn, nasty, offensive, unpleasant, unfriendly, rude, legalistic, insulting, disrespectful, and the list goes on). Let us learn how to remain loving, caring, and kind to each other. After all, one of the most crucial lessons Christ Jesus taught is this one: “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other” (John 13:35, MSG).

Having said that, let me say this: Because I know that the Rapture is one of the most commonly debated doctrines, I would like to share, strictly from a general theological perspective, two biblical proofs favoring a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Not only do I find these proofs to be two of the best but also I agree with them, as do so many theologians, countless other followers of Christ, and even copious churchgoers. For this reason, I am certain that numerous individuals who will read this blog entry probably already know these proofs, and I equally am certain that various other individuals who will read this blog entry neither had read nor had heard of these proofs before now. My hope then is that the end result of having read this article will be that those readers who didn’t believe will have come to believe what so many present-day followers of Christ already accept to be true about the Bride of Christ’s pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Biblical Proof Number One—from the Old Testament:

Anyone who believes that there is a radical and ESSENTIAL difference between the righteous and the wicked should agree that God knows the difference, and  he or she should agree that God is the One who makes the distinction between those who are “righteous” and those who are “wicked.” Additionally, anyone who believes that there is a radical and ESSENTIAL difference between the righteous and the wicked also should agree that righteousness and wickedness are exact opposite spiritual (heavenly vs. hellish) characteristics, which is why God never wanted His righteous children and the world’s wicked persons to mix.

Furthermore, since God knew there would be a nonstop righteous vs. wicked battle taking place on this Earth, that is why He had some undeniable proof of His timeless pattern of Judgment placed in His Word. Biblical proof number one, therefore, is that God does not judge His truly righteous believers with the world’s very wicked unbelievers. This biblical pattern is most noticeable in the Scriptures describing the time of Noah, and it continues to become more evident throughout the rest of the Old Testament. God’s pattern of Judgment also is found in the New Testament, especially in end-times verses. That’s why there really can be no denying that God clearly is represented throughout the Holy Bible as a righteous Judge who pronounces Judgment that always is correct and fair.

For example, in the Old Testament, Abraham, who is one of Noah’s after-the-Flood descendants, knew quite well that God never would judge the righteous with the wicked, and that is why Abraham doesn’t shy away from reminding God of His existing Judgment pattern. Abraham says to God:

…Will you actually sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Maybe there are fifty righteous people in the city; will you actually sweep the place away, and not forgive it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are there? Far be it from you to do such a thing — to kill the righteous along with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Shouldn’t the judge of all the earth do what is just? ~ Genesis 18:23-25, CJB

The point here is that it had been established before Noah’s day that God is a just and righteous Judge who only punishes (pours out His Wrath only upon those whom He has judged as) the wicked, and then only AFTER He has removed (separated) the righteous from mingling with the wicked. Righteous Noah, his sons, and his sons’ wives were saved from God’s 40 days and 40 nights of the falling rain Flood Judgment, while God poured out His promised diluvial Wrath upon all of the Earth’s wicked inhabitants, as well as upon the Earth itself!

As already mentioned, this pattern of God’s Judgment runs all through the Testaments. Of course, there always is an exception, and the exception that must be noted here is that, although there are many New Testament verses that chiefly emphasize God’s Judgment, there is NO mention of God’s Judgment in the New Testament passages considered as Rapture passages. This observation leads to the second biblical proof.

Biblical Proof Number Two—from the New Testament:

Since there is no mention of God’s Judgment in the New Testament’s Rapture verses, then it is decidedly possible that the Rapture of the Bride of Christ happens at a separate time from when God judges and then punishes the Earth and the left-behind wicked, many who are followers of the Antichrist, with His fiery Wrath. The apostle John writes:

Then I saw another sign in heaven, a great and wonderful one — seven angels with the seven plagues that are the final ones; because with them, God’s fury is finished. ~ Revelation 15:1, CJB

Apostle John most assuredly is describing the last Judgments—the last of God’s judiciary righteous Judgments issued against the left-behind ungodly (His Wrath or Fury). The apostle also is describing God’s righteous Punishment for committed crimes His enemies are guilty of (His Wrath or Fury). Without doubt, these seven plagues (seven bowl judgments) are the last of all of God’s promised righteous end-times Punishment (His Wrath or Fury).

All the same, it must be noted here that apostle Paul says when Christ Jesus died on the Cross, His atoning sacrifice not only had made the gift of eternal life (Salvation) available, but also He had saved (rescued, delivered) believers from God’s end-times Judgments and Punishment (outpouring of Wrath). In other words, so that God’s righteous would not experience any of His end-times Wrath, Christ Jesus’ sacrificial dying absorbed it ALL. Thus, biblical proof number two is Christ Jesus already took the Wrath of God in place of God’s Household of Faith believers—bore the FULL brunt of God’s Wrath for the Body of Christ, also known as the Bride of Christ (both saved Christian Jews and Gentiles). Apostle Paul writes:

…you turned to God from idols, to serve the true God, the one who is alive, and to wait for his Son Yeshua, whom he raised from the dead, to appear from heaven and rescue us from the impending fury of God’s judgment. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10, CJB

~ and ~

For God has not intended that we should experience his fury, but that we should gain deliverance through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who died on our behalf so that whether we are alive or dead, we may live along with him. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, CJB

The point here is that it already had been established before Christ Jesus’ day that God still is a just and righteous Judge who only punishes (pours out His Wrath only upon those whom He has judged as) the wicked, and then only AFTER He has removed (separated) the righteous from mingling with the wicked. Therefore, it stands to reason that the Lord’s righteous Bride first will be saved (rescued, delivered) from any part of God’s seven years of the end-times Tribulation Judgments, after which God then will pour out all of His promised fiery Wrath upon all of the Earth’s left-behind inhabitants!

The bottom line is this: As it was in Noah and Abraham’s days, so will it be in these current last days. God will NOT have His spiritually renewed, saved, and reconciled back to Himself sons and daughters endure any of His prophesied end-times Judgments and Punishment that are reserved for His and Israel’s enemies. There is absolutely no way that God could explain or defend why He would let those individuals, whom the beaten and crucified Christ Jesus’ Blood has justified as righteous, and whom the mighty workings of the Holy Spirit completely has sanctified as holy (sinless), go through any of the seven years of the end-times Tribulation. That is why the Bride of Christ will NOT be in the Tribulation Period!

Once again, the two biblical proofs favoring a pre-Tribulation Rapture for the Bride of Christ are that God never would judge His righteous when He judges the wicked, and Christ Jesus already has emptied God’s full cup of Wrath so that born again, saved, justified, and fully sanctified followers of Christ would never have to experience any Wrath of God. AMEN!

For a detailed explanation about God’s Wrath, please read my blog entry Lost In Translation.