Rapture? Has God ever delivered His people BEFORE Tribulation came?
Has God ever delivered His people BEFORE Tribulation came to them? Today we’ll look at the teaching of a secrete pre-tribulation Rapture, and see if we can find Scriptural evidence that supports this view that believers in Jesus will be "caught up" to heaven before the Great Tribulation starts. This doctrinal teaching sounds very appealing to the ears but is it Scriptural? (Ecclesiastes 1: 9) That which hath been is that which shall be; and that which hath been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Since this is true, and there is “nothing new under the sun” then we should be able to find Old Testament examples of a "type" of pre-tribulation Rapture where God’s people are “taken” out of harms way, before any trouble fell on them. Can you think of any; I cannot? Six times in history God’s people went through a "tribulation" because of disobedience. Six times they were either conquered, taken into slavery or destroyed, not by a so-called “Anti-Christ” but a “beast” government. Let’s take a look at the past so that we can see what will happen in the future.
God chooses a people:
2100 BC God promises Abraham many descendants:
Abraham lived around 2100 BC in what is now Iraq. God told him to move to Canaan, which later became Israel. Unlike many people, Abraham believed in the one true God and He rewarded Abraham's faith, making him the father of a great nation (Israel). God’s "chosen" people start here.
1. God’s people enslaved by Egypt:
1446 BC Exodus begins:
This is the first "beast" kingdom to rule over God's people. After being enslaved for 400 years, the Jews, led by Moses, leave Egypt and head toward the land of Canaan, which later becomes Israel. Moses and his fellow Jews wander the desert for 40 years before reaching the border of Canaan. By the time they reached the promised land of Canaan, every adult who was twenty years and above, except Moses, Caleb, and Joshua had died in the wilderness. They didn’t believe the Lord, so hundreds of thousands of God’s chosen people died in the wilderness and only two adults Caleb and Joshua along with the children made it into that Promised Land.
Did God’s "chosen" people escape hardship and trials? No, when the "beast" (the Egyptians) rose up against them they were saved THROUGH the plagues and THROUGH the Red Sea with the beast chasing them. They were later tried and refined THROUGH tribulation in the wilderness. Most of God's people fell in that wilderness but the righteous made it through, into that Promised Land. God's people were not "raptured" out of the hard times because God used those trials to separate those who believed Him from those who did not believe Him. God did save some, but it was through the "tribulation" and not away from it.
2. Assyrians Conquer God’s people:
721 BC Assyrians conquer northern kingdom of Israel:
The Assyrian Empire conquers the northern kingdom of Israel in about 721 BC. This was the second "beast" kingdom to conquer God's people, the Assyrians tortured and decapitated many of God's "chosen" people. They forced many Jews (10 of the 12 Tribes of Israel) out of Israel and bring in foreigners. History loses track of these 10 tribes.
What happened here to God’s “chosen people”? Many died, many were enslaved and many were dispersed, never to be heard from again. Yet not all of God’s people, only 10 of 12 tribes were destroyed. God still saved a remnant in Judah. He still had 2 tribes that were more obedient to Him than the other ten tribes. Do we see any Devine snatching away of God’s people when tribulation came; any saving the righteous before they were tested? God does not change “I the LORD do not change…" (Malachi 3:6) and Scripture says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever…" (Hebrews 13:8). If God tested and tried His people back then, don’t you think He will test and try us in this sinful generation? Why did God raise up a "beast" kingdom called Assyria to conquer His people? Could it happen today in what we call the Tribulation? (Rev 13:5) And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. (6) Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. (7) It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them... (10) He who [GOD] leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. The end time beast of Revelation 13 will be given authority from God to make war with the saints and overcome them! Some to be taken captive, others who try and fight will be killed. This is just like what happened to God's people in the Old Testament and history will repeat itself.
3. Babylon Conquers God’s people:
597 BC Babylon attacks Judah: Babylonian army attacks Judah and takes more Jews as captives to Babylon. Ezekiel, one of the captives, becomes a prophet of God. Ezekiel explains that God is allowing Babylon to punish Judah because the people have been unfaithful to God.
586 BC Babylon destroys Jerusalem and Temple: Babylon attacks Judah again. This time, the Babylonians destroy Jerusalem and the Temple that Solomon had built. More Jews are taken as captives to Babylon.
Here we go again; this was the third great "beast" kingdom to rule over God's people. God’s people are taken over because of their unfaithfulness to Him. Do we see any "secret Rapture" taking place? How about the righteous, weren’t they also take captive or were they Raptured? (Daniel 1:1) In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. (2) And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god. (3) Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, (4) young men in whom there was no blemish... (6) Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. No, we see God's people tried and tested THROUGH tribulation, even Daniel.
Actually the book of Daniel during this captivity of the "beast" called Babylon, has a lot to say about the rapture and what God's M.O. (Modus operandi: mode of operation) really is. Let's read the account of the three Hebrews who would not bow down and worship the image of the Beast. (Daniel 3:8) Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. (9) They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! (10) You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; (11) and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. (12) There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.” So here is the accusation against God's true followers, these were the only ones out of God's people which were taken into captivity who did not worship the image of the beast. They continued to worship the true God instead of bowing down to the image. Here is their response to the accusation. (13) Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. (14) Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? (15) Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” (16) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. (17) If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. (18) But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up”. Weren't these three the perfect candidates for a "pre-tribulation rapture", wouldn't God have shown us his M.O. and whisked them away to safety just like what would happen in the end times we read about in the book of Revelation? Oh, but God does show how he will save us... (19) Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. (20) And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. (21) Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. (22) Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. (23) And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. (24) Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” (25) “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” We are seeing exactly how God saves His people and it's in the midst of the trial and through the tribulation. (26) Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. (27) And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. (28) Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Yes out God does save us but it's through the trial and not from it.
Daniel is another witness to how God works, just look what happens when the decree goes out to only worship and pray to the King of Babylon. (Daniel 6:10) Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (11) Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God... Instead of having to go to the Lion's den, couldn't God have whisked him away before they came to take him? I guess God can do anything but that is not His M.O. (16) So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” (17) Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. (18) Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. (19) Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. (20) And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” (21) Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! (22) My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” (23) Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God. Notice that Daniel is "taken up out of the den" only after he went trough the trial and not before the trial? What a wonderful example of how God saves us through the trials and not from them. To say we have a Biblical foundation for a pre-tribulation rapture can not be supported.
4. Medo-Persia Conquers Babylon and God’s People:
539 BC Cyrus the Great conquers Babylon: After the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Neo-Babylonian Empire begins to lose power. It was conquered in about 539 BC by Cyrus the Great. Cyrus was king of the Medo-Persian Empire.
538 BC Cyrus releases Jews from Babylonian Captivity: Cyrus offers the Jews their freedom to leave Babylon and return to Judah. Cyrus' kingdom rules over Judah and many other parts of the Middle East, but Cyrus allows people more cultural and religious freedom than did the Neo-Babylonian Empire. This was the fourth "beast" kingdom to rule over God's people.
5. Greeks Rule over God’s people:
333 BC Greeks begin rule over land of Israel: Greece was the fifth "beast" kingdom to rule over God's people. The Greeks, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, defeat Persian armies in Macedonia in 333 BC. This marks the end of the Persian Empire; the Grecian Empire expands and God's people are still not free.
6. Roman Rules over God’s people:
63 BC Romans take over land of Israel: After the death of Alexander the Great, his empire was divided up among four generals. This weakens the empire. Meanwhile, the Roman Empire is becoming increasingly powerful. The Roman general named Pompey takes control of Jerusalem. Rome is the sixth "beast" kingdom to rule over the people of God.
70 AD Romans destroy Jerusalem and Temple:
In 70 AD, the Roman Army, under Titus, destroys Jerusalem and the Temple, to suppress an uprising of the Jews. According to the historian Josephus, about 1.1 million Jews were killed. Of those spared from death, thousands more were enslaved and sent to toil in the mines of Egypt; others were dispersed to arenas throughout the Empire to be butchered for the amusement of the public. Were God’s "chosen" people spared or was judgment set?
So here we have the brief but complete history of God’s people and what happened with them when they faced their “tribulation”. You can see that God continually takes his people through a “tribulation” to turn His people back to Him. God wants a people who will follow Him completely and He is coming again for a spotless and blemish less bride and in order to clean up His church; He will have to refine them through the Tribulation and not before. (Zechariah 13:8,9) In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'" This prophecy is for today and the Tribulation to come. It certainly doesn't sound like we'll all be "taken up" before the hard times come.
As we begin to understand that God doesn’t change, we also understand that in order to make a case for a pre-tribulation Rapture, we must find examples of this within the Bible. Did you know we can find two examples of a "type" of rapture in the Scriptures, it was both Enoch and Elijah. (Genesis 5:24) and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. In other words, Enoch pleased God and was walking with Him and then translated Enoch to heaven. (Hebrews 11:5) By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God translated him: for he hath had witness borne to him that before his translation he had been well-pleasing unto God: So here we have the account of Enoch being taken up to God, and yes you can say that it is a type of “Rapture” but it was not to escape hardship but because he was “well-pleasing” unto God. This is certainly different than a pre-tribulation rapture just as the Tribulation starts which most preach today.
Now let’s look at the story of Elijah being “raptured”. (2 Kings 2:1) Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. (2) And Elijah said to Elisha, "Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. (3) And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?" And he said, "Yes, I know it; keep quiet." (4) Elijah said to him, "Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho. (5) The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?" And he answered, "Yes, I know it; keep quiet." (6) Then Elijah said to him, "Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan." But he said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So the two of them went on. (7) Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. (8) Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. (9) When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." (10) And he said, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so." (11) And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (12) And Elisha saw it and he cried, "My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw him no more. Was this an example of how God protects His believers from a coming judgment or a pre-tribulation rapture? No, God was pleased with Elijah and took him up without him without ever experiencing death. This does not fit the pre-tribulation rapture taught today; neither Enoch nor Elijah escaped impending judgment or tribulation. Instead they seem to be an example of how we will be taken up to the Lord after our testing on earth just like Jesus only went up to heaven after He completed His tribulations on earth. (Acts 1:9) And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. So you could say that this is another "type" of rapture but not the type which allows us to escape from going through the tribulation as Jesus gave His life going through the ultimate in tribulation.
Now I ask you again, has God ever saved His people from going through a “type” of tribulation in the past? If not, what makes us think that this time it will be different… Surely God will deliver the Christians this time won’t he? Did God save Shadrach, Meschach & Abed-Nego from the fiery furnace or THROUGH the fiery furnace? Did God save Daniel from the lions den or THROUGH the lions den? Did God save Noah from the flood or THROUGH the flood? GOD DOES NOT CHANGE; He’s the same back then as He is now! (Ecclesiastes 1:9) That which hath been is that which shall be; and that which hath been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
We’re better off examining ourselves now as to what might not please the Lord and start preparing ourselves for the hard times ahead because if we haven’t been secretly raptured in the past, it’s not going to happen this time either. What will you do if you see all the bloodshed around you and there's still no rapture? Why do you think Jesus asked “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth"? Many will lose faith because they are still here and haven’t been "raputred" like they’ve been taught. Will you understand what is going on if you're still here when the hard times come? Study and find the truth now before it is to late.
(Daniel 12:9) He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. (10) Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. Are you wise and understanding? If so you will take this information to heart and begin to see God's ways throughout history. You will see that God always tests His believers to see if they really are believers and if they are, they will overcome the evil around them and enter eternal life. (Revelation 21:7,8) He that overcometh shall inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (8) But for the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death. Without having things to overcome how can we be over-comers? The Tribulation will be a time to test you in all that you've read in your Bible. We have professed with our mouths that we believe all that God says but now we'll have the opportunity to put that faith into action and overcome in the Tribulation ahead. The seventh and eight "beast" kingdom of world government will soon conquer God's people just like in the past, prepare now, be ready and waiting for we are very close!
May the Lord bless you with wisdom,
Mark, a servant in the Lord, www.heavenshelpers.org
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