The Prophesy Pros are back for an all-new season! We’re kicking things off with some answers to the widely debated topic: The Rapture. Tune in to part 1 of this two-part series.
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Todd: Hey, welcome to the Prophecy Pros podcast. Today, we’re going to talk about many questions about the rapture. We tackled that a little bit in season one, but we’ve gotten so many questions from viewers and listeners that want to know more about the specific details of the rapture and how we can fully understand it based on what the Bible has to say.
So, what is the big deal with the rapture? Why is it so important? Why is it something we have got to figure out for ourselves? Jeff, welcome to the podcast. I can’t wait to tackle this topic with you today.
Jeff: Todd, I’m excited about season two here and just the topics we’re going to be covering here. It seems like right now there’s so much in the air about the end times and about the rapture and I’m getting a lot of questions. We’re getting a lot of questions about the rapture, why it’s such a big deal, why should I pay attention to it. I mean, there’s a lot of questions because a lot of confusion that people have about the rapture out there today, and so, I want to go ahead and just tackle some of these questions here. I guess maybe a good starting point would just be simply to say, I mean, are you guys just making a big deal about the rapture just because it’s kind of a sensational topic?
I mean, it sounds like something people would be interested in and that’s why you’re covering it, or is the rapture really that big of an issue that we should focus time on and aren’t there other things we should be talking about? And, I guess, Todd, my response to that initially, would just be, when you think about the rapture, it’s kind of a game-changer in our history, in our destiny, in the end times because depending on your view on the rapture or depending on when the rapture actually occurs, that will determine whether or not you suffer during the tribulation period. And, Jesus, when He spoke of the tribulation, He launched into this apocalyptic vision we read about Matthew 24, Luke 21 and, of course, in Revelation 6-19, that it’s the most catastrophic, horrific time in the history of mankind, where God Himself is unleashing His wrath.
So I guess the bottom line would just be whether or not you’re going to go through God’s wrath is affected by the rapture and the timing on the rapture. So I would say, yeah, it’s a huge game-changer. I mean, do you want the mark of the beast? Do you want the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments on your head? I mean, that’s a huge deal. So, I think it’s important that we address this. I mean, obviously, not in a caustic way, but just in a scriptural way to say, “I mean, yeah, I mean, Noah, do you really want to get on that ark or is the flood going to be that big of a deal?” kind of thing. So, I think it is a big deal and that’s one of the reasons why we should take time in these podcasts to address it.
Todd: I agree. And, Jeff, I don’t know about you, but lately, I mean, even like the last year, I get two primary responses whenever I… Like I just recently put out a blog post that just says, “The seven key reasons to believe in the pre-tribulation rapture.” And then I followed it up because I thought of a few more. And then, like you said, every time I turn a page of scripture, I find another reason.
So, there’s tons of reasons to believe it, but I got push back, and the two types of pushback that I get is one group of people saying it’s a peripheral issue, it’s secondary, it’s a distraction. And I don’t get that too often, but that comment usually comes from people who have never personally studied it for themselves, and they just go to the least common denominator that Jesus is coming back sometime, and that’s all we really need to know. But there’s so much… Why would he give us so much more than that if he didn’t want us to study it?
And then the other more, honestly, just being real, the more caustic pushback I get are from some folks who push for a post-trib rapture. And, honestly, they’ll come at you pretty hard. Not all of them. I mean, they’re our brothers and sisters in Christ. We center on that, but several times I’ve had to just simply respond to a four-page email and say, “I’m sorry, I don’t have time to address everything you brought up here, but why don’t we spend this time reaching people for Jesus Christ instead of debating with each other? Obviously, we’re on different pages here.”
So, we want to address some of that. We really want to tackle it head-on. We don’t want to avoid the issue because you and I, Jeff, both believe truth can be known here very clearly, and it’s very important in this day in particular, with COVID-19 and crazy stuff going on in our country. You and I both feel that between now and the election and beyond it’s going to get even crazier. So, believers who have never really studied it before, and this is the other form of emails I’m getting and comments on YouTube videos and that kind of thing is people that have never really studied it before are really, earnestly, honestly seeking truth, and those are the people that we’re really trying to do this podcast for. It’s not to debate or bash other Christians. There are people that really want to know, is it biblical to study about this? And what does the Bible say about the pre-tribulation rapture?
Jeff: Yeah, that’s a great point, Todd, and I’m with you on that because when people bring up the issue of, well, it’s a peripheral theme, or peripheral subject, or whatever, I look at the New Testament and I see just the opposite. I see Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 when he’s telling them about the tribulation period, what’s going to happen there, he says, “Do you not remember that while I was still with you I was telling you these things?” And what that verse says is that the end times prophecy was a part of Paul’s foundational teaching and church-planting strategy because planting a church is not just putting up a sign and gathering a group of people together. As I heard John MacArthur say recently, “Church is not putting on a light and music show followed by a TED Talk,” but it’s the believers coming together to study the Word of God.
And as I see what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians about the rapture, 1 Corinthians, we see in 2 Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 5:1, all these places, and Jesus in John 14. I mean, we see this issue of the rapture not being peripheral. In fact, if it is the blessed hope, the blessed hope that Titus 2:13 talks about, then it’s a huge thing. In fact, the early church, at the end of 1 Corinthians, Paul said “Maranatha,” which is an Aramaic term, meaning may the Lord come. And so, we believe that’s the way the church greeted one another as they came together, instead of, “Hey, how’s it going?” they said “Maranatha.” So these were always on their lips, always on their minds, is this confident and consistent expectation of the return of the Lord.
So, without trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, I think scripture just logically balances it out and puts it in sort of the diet of what we should know about and what we should expect in the end times. So yeah, I get that too. I get the post-trib thing and that really does speak to the earlier point that I made about, yes, are we going to go through the tribulation or are we going to be delivered from the tribulation? And, of course, if you’re a post-tribulationist, that means post means after, means that we’re going to be raptured after the tribulation and immediately go to heaven and immediately come back down, which obviously leaves no time for the judgment seat of Christ, and why should we comfort one another with these words, as 1 Thess 4:18 says, if we’re going to go through all the tribulation? Now there’s no comfort there.
Todd: No comfort at all. I mean, and you hinted at this earlier, but I think a lot of times people think the tribulation just going to be really bad, or especially the first half, oh, that’s just going to be man’s wrath. No, Jesus is the one opening the seals, and if you read carefully in several of the judgments, it even tells you what percentage of the population of earth will die. And by the time you get to the second half of the tribulation, I think it’s over three-quarters of the Earth’s population will have died or something along those lines. It is going to be horrific beyond explanation. Like you cannot even imagine. Matter of fact, if people are living in the tribulation era, I think their mindset is going to be, “I’m probably going to die. I’m probably going to be martyred,” but thank God, many of them will come to Christ during the tribulation period.
Unfortunately, most of them will be martyred. And then, of course, by the end of the tribulation period, we’ll have the worst holocaust of the Jewish people, unfortunately, that we’ve ever seen. What we’ve already experienced with World War II will pale in comparison, unfortunately. But, at the end, all of the Jewish people who will survive will turn to Christ and accept him. So that’s a beautiful thing. But just piggybacking off what you said, if somebody just goes through the New Testament epistles with a highlighter and highlights everywhere where they’re told to watch, or wait, or wait with expectancy, or keep their candles lit, or stay awake, all of those things show that it was an eminent thing. The early church believed the Lord could literally return at any moment.
And, we’re setting up where this is going to be a two-part podcast on this topic, so maybe right now, we’re kind of more setting up the groundwork. And then in the second one, we’ll answer some of the kind of peripheral questions, but they’re questions that everyone wants to know. But right now we’re just trying to really push the fact that it… Yes, it’s not a salvation issue, but it is a very, very important issue, and it frames how you view the end times and, honestly, they’re coming at us like a freight train. These are the questions people are asking. Am I going to be taken out of here before the tribulation period starts? And that doesn’t mean it’s not going to get tough before then, but it’s not going to be what we read about in Revelation 6-19 until after we’re out of here.
Jeff: You’re absolutely right, Todd, because I was just… My mind just went to Matthew 24, talking about this the intensity of the tribulation and verse 21 says, “For then there will be a great tribulation,” speaking to the last three and a half years, “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” And then he says, “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved, but for the sake of the elect, those days shall be cut short.” And it just speaks to the intensity of God’s wrath as it continues to build and build like birth pangs throughout the tribulation. Of course, we believe Revelation 6 at the beginning of the seal judgments, and that’s when the tribulation begins. It coincides with the peace treaty that Antichrist signs, Daniel 9:27. And that officially starts God’s countdown clock of that seven-year tribulation.
When Jesus told his Jewish friends about the tribulation period, he told them to look for signs. They ask him, “What are going to be the signs?” So he gave them, he says, “Look for these signs.” But the church is never told to look for signs. We are only told to look for the blessed hope in Titus 2:13. So that’s really one of the basic, to me, one of the fundamental differences between what the church is told to do, we’re told to prepare for the coming of the Lord and the return of Christ to the rapture, but the tribulation saints and the Jews are told to look for these signs and, ultimately, the sign in the heavens in verse 30 of Matthew 24 says the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. And, of course, that’s the second coming of Christ.
So, yeah. Not a peripheral issue, going to be an intense time, not something that anyone wants to go through. And also, as you said, people will say, “Well, the rapture is just a doctrine of convenience. It’s just an escape clause.” And my response to that would just simply be, “Well, if it’s an escape clause, then so was Noah and the ark. So was Lot and the angels who delivered him and basically escaped him from Sodom and Gomorrah before God’s judgment fell.” And as you mentioned, Todd, God nowhere says that we will not go through hard times. I mean, Jesus said in John 15, “If they hated me, they’re going to hate you.” I mean, period, paragraph. It’s going to happen. And as we ramp up closer to the time when Satan and gets his man of lawlessness ready for the world, the hatred against Christians is going to grow.
We’re seeing that right now in many states across our country where they’re trying to shut down churches for worship. I mean, it’s an underground, low-grade hatred that people have for believers, but we’re not exempt from that. But we are exempt from God’s wrath. I mean, Jesus said in John 16 in the world, you’re going to have tribulation, but He says… He didn’t say you’re going to go through the tribulation. So, escape clause, well, yeah, we are going to escape, but it’s a deliverance from the wrath of God. And just from a doctrinal theological standpoint, just real quickly, I mean, I think it’s important for our listeners to know that God’s wrath was satisfied already on Christ at the cross, completely. And that’s why Jesus says, “It is finished,” that tetelestai cry on the cross was an accounting term that meant paid in full.
And if God has already said, Jesus sacrifice is enough for me to forgive you of your sin, there’s not an ounce of condemnation or wrath left for us for as a judgment from God. That’s what Romans 5:9, Romans 8:1 says, “There’s therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” So, if Jesus has been satisfied, if He’s our propitiation for our sins as 1 John 2:2 says, then we’re okay. And we’re not going to experience the anger and wrath of God. In fact, all we’re going to experience is deliverance, ultimately, as He takes us up to heaven when He does unleash His wrath. So, very important issue and very important to know, from not from an emotional standpoint, Todd, but just from a doctrinal standpoint, because it’s the truth that drives us, not our emotions. So, do I want to get out of the tribulation? You better believe I do. But guess what? Fortunately, God has already said in His word that that’s going to happen.
Todd: Exactly. That’s a great point. And that’s the pushback sometimes is like you said, isn’t it, is it a rescue clause or an escape clause? And I’ll say, yeah. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says, “And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He has raised from the dead, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” And I had someone ask me, “Well, how do we know that’s talking about the time of wrath, the tribulation period versus just God’s eternal wrath?” And, of course, it means both. Salvation rescues us from both of those forms of wrath. But, when you carefully look at scripture, especially all through the Old Testament, but the New Testament too, when it talks about God’s coming wrath or the day of the Lord, or those things, all of it points to a specific time period, Daniel’s 70th week, that it is specifically a time of God’s wrath, the day of the Lord. So yes, there’s a sense in which, of course, God will punish evil eternally, but all throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, it’s pointing to a specific time of God’s wrath on earth that we know as the tribulation period.
Jeff: Absolutely. Yeah. And Paul’s theme to the Thessalonians, he goes over to chapter 5. I mean, he talks about as to the times and the epics, “You have no need of anything to be written to you, for you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” Isn’t it interesting that he said to them, “You guys already know this.”
Todd: You know full well.
Jeff: You already know this full well. And the whole context of that passage is the day of the Lord, the tribulation period. So when he writes to them in the previous verses, right in chapter 4, the end of that chapter, he talks about the rapture being harpazo, being delivered from the tribulation and the wrath that’s coming, we’ll be caught up to meet the Lord, comfort one anothers, and then he talks about the day of the Lord. So the context is, obviously, that wrath that’s going to happen at the end of the age.
We, I think, sometimes don’t have a construct in our minds to understand what this going to be like. God is a furious God. He’s a wrathful God. And there’s coming a time when His patience for planet earth as a whole is going to be up, and He’s going to unleash these judgments. So why would He want His precious bride to go through those type of horrific happenings that are going to come upon the earth? So, we’ll kind of touch back on some of these things, but I think that’s sort of an umbrella of kind of how we begin this discussion is yes, it’s important. Yes, it’s in the Bible.
It is not just a doctrine of escapism, but a doctrine that is taught in the scripture. But, you know, Todd, people come up with a lot of other questions about the rapture that sometimes you think, “Well, does the Bible really address this and other objections that people have?” One of them is asking the question, “Will all believers go up in the rapture or just the Christians who are awake?” People will reference Matthew 25 and the 10 virgins and 5 were left behind, is that talking about people… Christians or whatever. So will Christians who are not living for Christ at the time, which at any given moment, a lot of Christians are not living for Christ, right? What about this partial rapture theory? You got any thoughts on that?
Todd: Yeah. I mean, in one of the premier passages where Paul talked about the rapture, he said, “We shall all be changed.” All means all. And, like you mentioned earlier, our salvation is not based on our works, our effort. For most of us, I’ll speak for myself personally, after I became a Christian, I was a very immature Christian for many years. It took a long time for the Lord to really get ahold of me, to where I was fully dedicated to Him. If I would have looked at myself in those early years, I would have been like, “Well, he’s probably not getting caught up in the rapture.” But, thank God, it’s not based on our works. Ephesians 2:8-9. It’s not based on our works. None of us can boast that we’re more of a super Christian than somebody else.
And, actually, you and I have talked about this before, just one-on-one, that the rapture is part of our salvation. We have been saved from the penalty of our sins right now as we live and try to grow in Christ, we’re being saved from the power of sin as we become more and more like Christ. But one day we will physically be saved from the presence of sin, and that’s when we get our new glorified, spiritual bodies that have no sin nature and we’re taken out of here, this sinful place. So, and that’s what you alluded to this earlier, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, that was Paul’s believers 101 class. Those were the earliest epistles in the New Testament, and he wrote it to some brand new Christians. And as you mentioned, he said, “Did I not tell you these things? You know full well.” He had talked to them in-depth about the rapture and the day of the Lord and that kind of thing as soon as they were believers. So it’s a very important part of our actual salvation.
Jeff: Absolutely. And I love the verse you quoted from 1 Thess, oh, excuse me, 1 Corinthians 15 about we shall all be changed. How much more clear? If that’s the only verse we had, then that’s all we need. But he also says in 1 Thessalonians 4, he says that those who are dead in Christ obviously will rise first. Then it says, “We who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together.” He doesn’t say some of us who are alive and remain. I mean, there’s no indication in those verses that there’s anything but a full and complete rapture. There’s no hierarchy of salvation or of the rapture.
And I think back to just, again, from just a doctrinal theological standpoint, Todd, back in Romans 8, I mean, there’s this chain of unbroken salvation. We see where it says in verse 30, it says, “Those whom He predestined, those He called. And those who He called, He also justified. And those He justified, He also glorified.” I mean, there’s no break in that. If you’re justified, meaning you’re saved, you’re going to be glorified, meaning you’re going to have your salvation complete. And so, yeah, there’s this unbroken chain of salvation from eternity past to eternity future, and God is so gracious to allow us to be a part of that. And I think that really is, I mean, hello? Aren’t we comforted by this? That’s the whole point of us knowing this doctrine is to not only be prepared, but also to be comforted.
And I think that gives us kind of a great starting point. Gosh, there’s so much more we could talk about this.
Todd: I was going to say, 20 minutes went by really quick. You know it.
Jeff: It’s crazy. But here’s the thing. The thing that really… I think just inspires me, Todd, it’s just knowing that there are Christians across the world that are now, all of a sudden, beginning to turn pages in their Bibles. You hear those Bible pages turning and, all of a sudden, they’re starting to read books like mine and yours, and we’re getting emails from people saying, “I have never heard this in church before, ever.” And I think a lot of it has to do with just who the pastors are and that kind of thing, or maybe they’re not equipped, or maybe they’re afraid. Who knows? But right now is prime time to be studying these things because we need to be looking up and looking for the coming of the Lord.
So we’re going to pick it back up in the next podcast because there’s so much more and, obviously, we’re not going to blast every question that there is about the rapture, but we’re going to cover some of the ones that we’ve been getting. But I want our listeners to know that this is meant to be a comfort and encouragement. It’s meant to build you up, to build your faith strong.
And that’s why we’re here in the Prophecy Pros podcast to give you clarity, confidence, and courage, and hope as you move forward in the future. And Todd, I’m excited because God is, for whatever reason, God’s hand of favor is on this Prophecy Pros podcast ministry. And he is expanding that we’ve been getting tons of emails, people saying, “Hey, where’s season two? We’re missing you guys.” So here we are. We’ll get this thing blasted out to you, but also, and we’ll be telling you more about this in the future, but the Lord is planning some amazing things for the Prophecy Pros. Things that are going to get us out into America and plan some things for you out there, and some things that are going online, some video and stuff going on, but we’ll be telling you more about that in the future.
But go to prophecyprospodcast.com and make sure that you subscribe, and please share this with your friends. Tell them, “Hey, here’re two crazy guys that are talking about prophecy, but they’re really, they’re basing this stuff in scripture and it’s really allowing me to understand a lot more about God’s prophetic plan.” So, prophecyprospodcast.com, and we’ll see you next time. It’s going to be more discussion on the rapture and why it’s so important for our lives today.
Todd: Hey, thank you so much for listening. We’re really excited you found us. Make sure to subscribe if you have not done so already. And if you like what you heard, please let us know by leaving a review. That does us a huge favor and helps us out a lot. For more resources, or to ask questions, or find more about our ministries, go to prophecyprospodcast.com and a major thank you, major shout out to Harvest House Publishers for helping us with this podcast.