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Post Tribulation

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Post Tribulation

Christian eschatology
Eschatology views
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In Christian eschatology, the post-tribulation rapture doctrine is the belief in a combined resurrection and rapture (e.g., resurrection-rapture) of all believers coming after the Great Tribulation.

Doctrine and implications

This doctrine holds that there is a resurrection-rapture of living believers in Jesus Christ at the end of the age (or the "End time"). Post-tribulationists believe that Christians will remain on the Earth through the three and a half year great tribulation period. This period starts at the Abomination of Desolation and ends at the Battle of Armageddon. They will be gathered by the angels to meet Christ in the air (raptured) at Christ's second coming immediately after the great tribulation just before the battle of Armageddon and then return with Him as Christ descends to the Earth, to usher in the Millennium (World to Come) on earth. This is usually understood as being in line with historic premillennialism.

Matthew 24:29-31 ASV 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 ASV
29But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall 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: 30and 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 on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; 17then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

For additional references, see also the parallel passages from Mark 13:24-27 and Luke 21:20-28. While the passages in Luke 21 parallels Matthew and Mark, it offers a couple of interesting clarifications. This passage in Luke offers interesting references to some of the major events which are greatly elaborated on in the Book of Revelation. Reading all three Books of the Bible in parallel, it would appear that Luke elaborates on the "abomination of desolation" describing Jerusalem being surrounded by the armies of the world and of Jerusalem's imminent destruction (Luke 21:20).

Another account which lends support to the idea of a post-tribulation rapture is in 2 Peter 3:10-13, where the idea of the "Day of the Lord" coming as a "thief in the night" comes from. This idea of imminence, according to the post-tribulation view, only applies to the wicked and the spiritually unprepared people that are still alive before the Return of Christ. Therefore, only God's elect (Christians) will fully have a clear understanding of the timing of the second coming, and therefore Christ's coming will not catch the believers by surprise, but only those who are spiritually ignorant regarding the truth.[1][2][3][4][5] In the passage of 2 Peter 3:10-13, Christ's return is equated with the "elements being melted", and "the earth also and the works therein shall be burned up". Opposing views are not non-existent within the realm of Christian Eschatology. Two opposing views, pre-tribulationism and mid-tribulationism, see the rapture and the Second Coming (or Greek, paraousia) of Christ as separate events; while in post-tribulationism the two events are identical or simultaneous.

Another key difference between the pre-, mid-, and post-tribulation lines of theology is the number of times that Jesus Christ must return. Although it is not directly referenced, in both the pre- and mid-tribulation raptures, Christ must then return a third time, at the end of the tribulation period.

The belief is that God's Elect from all ages will be translated from mortal bodies into immortal glorified bodies at the Second Coming of Christ and that this will be at the end of the age. This event, it is believed, will come at the conclusion of what is termed the 70th Week of Daniel, the final seven years of this present age. This view was held by the early Church Fathers and has been held by Christians since that time. The doctrine of the post-tribulation rapture is today held by a growing number of evangelical Christians. For post-tribulationists concerned about the recent decline of Christian faith, doctrine, and morals in the western church, an important reason to advance the post-tribulation rapture doctrine relates to the importance of preparation of believers for "witness under trial".

The "witness under trial" issue was of major concern to evangelist Corrie Ten Boom, whose family suffered in Nazi prison camps during World War II for the crime of protecting Jews. Corrie Ten Boom preached that the pre-tribulation rapture would leave the Christian church ill-prepared for witness under persecution, just as it had in China when Mao Zedong rose to power, and warned that pre-tribulationism was the sort of false doctrine that Jesus warned about.

Another idea is that following the Great Tribulation, the False Prophet, or "The Beast out of the Earth" and the Antichrist or "The Beast out of the Sea" will be condemned upon Jesus Christ's return, and all those who endured or died for Christ's return will be raptured to heaven and, following the Millennium, Satan will be condemned and the remaining dead believers will be raised and raptured into the new heaven.

Biblical sources

Post-tribulationists broadly base their doctrine on the complementary concepts that a two phase pre-tribulation rapture is never mentioned explicitly in the Bible,[6] and that the "whole counsel of Scripture"[7] seems[original research?] to clearly teach that the resurrection and rapture of the Church will be the result of the visible, physical Second Coming of Jesus Christ to Earth and that Christians are to look and watch for that event.[8]

Contrasting opinion maintains that the passages are not talking about the same event despite some similarities because of details that are absent between the two passages and that the rapture event was a "mystery" until it was revealed in First Corinthians which the Thessalonian recipients would have been unaware of.[11]

Post-tribulationists respond to the opposing views of pre-tribulationists in a variety of ways:

Some post-tribulationalists see the rapture and the Second Coming of Christ as part of one main event.[12][13] Support for this claim is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 in part because of the way the Apostle Paul introduces his topic, "Now concerning the coming of our Lord and our gathering together with him." This was an ancient way of introducing your topic of discussion and later Paul refers back to the two nouns at least twice as "the Day of the Lord" or "that day." Thus,[original research?] "the coming" and "gathering" seem to be two ways of referring to one event, "the day of the Lord."[14]

It seems[original research?] impractical for Paul to go to great lengths describing the coming of the Antichrist (and the falling away) to the Thessalonians[15] in order to calm them down that the day of Christ's reign on earth had not happened yet if they were not going to be there for it as maintained by the pre-tribulational position. He would be more comforting by reminding them that they wouldn't be present for it[16] than to precisely detail his recognition and say "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction".[17]

The most common passage used in defending a pre-tribulational position is Revelation 19. By definition, there can be no trumpet call after the last one, and no resurrection before the first.

Linguistic support for a one-event Second Coming are in the words "meet" and "coming" in

Another strength for this position is Paul saying when the church would receive rest for its suffering.[21] It would take place at the revealing of Jesus Christ with fire and judgment and at this time those who were afflicting the church at Thessalonica would be repaid for such treatment. No mention is made of a pre-tribulational removal but that rest comes at His Coming and so does judgment.[22]

A passage much debated regarding the timing of the rapture is

John highlights the idea that Christians are preserved by God through tribulation rather than removed:

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.[28]

This passage is one of the most blunt verses,[

The pretribulational argument that there are 'two phases' to Christ's coming (a rapture and a later Second Advent)

Pre-tribulational usage of Revelation 19, which reads that the fowls are invited to a feast—on the flesh of men, small and great, at the Lord's coming.

The Parable in ]



Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.[42]

They are to be patient amidst persecution until when? Until the coming (parousia) of the Lord. Parousia is well known to mean "presence" and refers to His second coming many times in the New Testament.]

Jesus, speaking chronologically in the Olivet Discourse regarding end time events,

Paul says: "we who are alive and remain [on the earth] until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep[died]."[58] Then he points out that the Lord's coming with angels and the trumpet call will invite those already dead in Christ to rise from the dead before the ones on earth participate in the event. Then Paul states: "Then we who are alive and remain [on earth] shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord."[59] Some commentators[60] note that because Paul used the plural "we" when referring to those who "are alive and remain[on earth]" indicates that Paul believed that he and all believers on earth might witness and be a part of the Second Coming of Christ from earth. This would indicate that he would be on earth just prior to the coming of the Lord and the rapture. This is also the usage when he speaks of the same event saying: "We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."[61] This passage adds the fact that believers will receive glorified bodies which is missing from the Thessalonian passage]."[62] If believers were raptured before the tribulation then why would Paul use "we" and consider himself with all Christians to possibly be those who would be "alive and remaining [on earth] until the coming of the Lord?" They wouldn't be alive and remaining on the earth at His coming in a pre-tribulational scenario but would already be with Jesus in clouds along with the other believers who had died in Christ.[original research?]

Opposing doctrines

Opposing doctrines include:

  • Midtribulationists believe that the rapture of the faithful will occur halfway through the Tribulation, after it begins, and will endure the phase of the Tribulation which tests their faith, but that they will be removed before the last half occurs, because that three and one-half year period is manifestly dominated by the wrath of God falling on those who reject him, Supporters of this view often cite 1 Thessalonians 5.9, "For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
  • Pretribulationists believe that all Christians then alive will be taken bodily up to Heaven (called the rapture) before the Tribulation begins. They often quote 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 to support the idea that the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn as a stabilizing influence on secular society (Matt 5.13) through the removal of the Church. Those who become converts after the rapture will, like the Old Testament saints, not be indwelt by the Holy Spirit in the same sense as Christians are said to be today. They will live through (or perish during) the Tribulation. After the Tribulation, Christ will return. This relatively new doctrine has become the most widely accepted eschatological doctrine in the United States during the past century. It is commonly taught in the vast majority of evangelical churches to the exclusion of all others. (See Dispensationalism for additional information about the origins and development of pre-tribulation rapture theology.)

See also

Events and ideas
  • Adolfo Ricardo Ybarra (outstanding post-tribulational Christian writer of Spanish language), The Basis of the Post-tribulational Faith (
  • Augustine of Hippo, The City of God, Chapter 23.
  • Barnabas, The Epistle of Barnabas, chapter 4
  • Caecilius Cyprianus (Bishop of Carthage; Post-tribulationist) [Treatise 7.2]
  • Didache (speaks of Jesus gathering the elect after the Tribulation)
  • Ephrem the Syrian (Post-tribulationist)
  • George Müller (19th Century Christian evangelist and orphanage coordinator)
  • Greg Koukl (Evangelical Radio Host, Apologist, Author and Speaker for Stand to Reason)
  • Hermas, The Shepherd of Hermas
  • Hippolytus (Writer of the early Christian Church; Speaks of the Antichrist's reign and persecution of the Church )
  • Irenaeus (Post-tribulationist; Disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John the apostle)
  • John Charles Ryle (19th Century Anglican bishop and theologian)
  • Benjamin Wills Newton (Evangelist, leader in the Plymouth Brethren, theological rival to John Nelson Darby.)
  • John Gill (Held the view that the Church was not raptured out in any event prior the tribulation)
  • Justin Martyr (Christian apologist and post-tribulationist)
  • Charles Spurgeon (Christian English Baptist Preacher. Known as the "Prince of Preachers".)
  • James Montgomery Boice (Former Pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA.)
  • John Piper (Evangelical Calvinist, Pastor, Author) Article listed below.
  • Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (19th Century Bible scholar)
  • Tertullian (Father of the Latin Church; Post-tribulationist)
  • Victorinus (third or fourth century; Book of Revelation first commentary writer)
  • Walter Ralston Martin (20th Century American Apologist, Minister, Author, and Founder of Christian Research Institute)
  • George Eldon Ladd (Baptist minister and Theologian. Taught at Fuller Theological Seminary.)
  • Gordon Clark (Christian Philosopher and Theologian.)
  • Francis Schaeffer (Christian Philosopher, Theologian, and Presbyterian Pastor.)
  • Wayne Grudem (well known Christian theologian, author, and professor)



  • ^ William Arnold III, Post-Tribulation Rapture, 7. History of Pre- and Post Tribulationism
  • The Rap on the Rapture: 1996.
  • ^ Martin, D. Michael. The New American Commentary; 1,2 Thessalonians, p. 154,155. Broadman and Holman Publishers, vol. 33, 2002. ISBN 978-0-8054-0199-2
  • ^ Osborne, Grant R. Baker Evangelical Commentary of the New Testament: Revelation. Baker Academics, 2002. ISBN 0-8010-2299-1
  • Definition and Observations Concerning The Second Coming August 30, 1987.
  • ^ MacArthur Jr., John F. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Revelation. Moody Press, Chicago, 1999. ISBN 0-8024-0773-0
  • ^ MacArthur Jr., John F. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: James. Moody Press, Chicago, 1998. ISBN 0-8024-0900-8
  • ^ Thomas, Robert L. An Exegetical Commentary: Revelation 1-7, Moody Press, Chicago, 1992. ISBN 0-8024-9265-7
  • ^ Johnson, Alan F. The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Editor Frank E. Gaebelein. The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, volume 12, 1981.
  • ^ Harrison, Everett F. The New Testament and Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Moody Press, 1971. ISBN 0-8024-5920-X
  • ^ G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson, and R.T. France. New Bible Commentary. 21st century Edition. Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England, 2004. ISBN 0-8308-1442-6
  • ^ MacArthur Jr., John F. The MacArthur Study Bible. Word Bibles, Nashville, London, Vancouver, Melbourne, 1997. ISBN 0-8499-1222-9
  • ^ Carson, D.A. The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Editor Frank E. Gaebelein. Regency Reference Library, The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, volume 8, 1984. ISBN 0-310-36500-7
  • Why Every Calvinist Should be a Premillennialist - Part 1, 2007.
  • Vincent's word studies

Further reading

Relevant verses
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (Resurrection of the righteous dead in connection with the rapture)
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
  • Ezekiel 34:12 (Prophet Ezekiel about the resurrection-rapture)
  • Matthew 24:29-31 (Jesus about the resurrection-rapture)
  • Revelation 20:4-5 ("First Resurrection" taking place after the Tribulation)
Other Biblical sources
  • Luke 17
  • Matthew 24
  • John 14
  • Acts 2 and Acts 3
  • Peter 1
  • 1 Corinthians 15
  • 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Thessalonians 5
  • 2 Thessalonians 1 and 2 Thessalonians 2
  • Titus 2:13
  • Revelation 14:14-20 and Revelation 20:1-6
  • Anderberg, Roy W., Post Tribulation Rapture Wheatmark Publishing, 2008, ISBN 978-1-58736-018-3
  • Alnor, William M., Soothsayers of the Second Advent. Fleming H. Revell, 1989. ISBN 0-8007-5324-0
  • Barnhouse, Donald Grey, Revelation - An Expositional Commentary. Zondervan, 1971. ISBN 0-310-20491-7
  • Boston, Robert, Close Encounters with the Religious Right. Prometheus Books, 2000. ISBN 1-57392-797-X
  • Brog, David, Standing With Israel. Front Line, A Strang Company, 2006. ISBN 1-59185-906-9
  • Clarkson, Frederick, Eternal Hostility. Common Courage Press, 1997. ISBN 1-56751-088-4
  • Coombes, R. A., America, The Babylon - America's Destiny Foretold in Biblical Prophecy A Real Book, 1998. ISBN 1-890622-33-8
  • Culver, Robert Duncan, Daniel and the Latter Days. Fleming H. Revell Company, 1954. 54-5434
  • Dyer, Charles H., The Rise of Babylon. Moody Publishers, 2003. ISBN 0-8024-0905-9
  • Feinberg, Charles L., Millennialism - Two Major Views. Moody Press, 1980. ISBN 0-8024-6815-2
  • Graves, Joel C., Gathering Over Jerusalem. Xulon Press, 2003. ISBN 1-59160-829-5
  • Hitchcock, Mark, Is America in Bible Prophecy?. Multnomah Publishers, 2002. ISBN 1-57673-496-X
  • Hunt, Dave, A Cup of Trembling - Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy. Harvest House Publishers, 1995. ISBN 1-56507-334-7
  • Ironside, Harry A., Revelation. Loizeaux Brothers, 1982. ISBN 0-87213-384-2
  • Jeffrey, Grant R., Armageddon - Appointment with Destiny. Bantam Books, 1990. ISBN 0-553-28537-8
  • Juster, Dan; Intrater, Keith, Israel, the Church and the Last Days. Destiny Image Publishers, 1991. ISBN 1-56043-061-3
  • Ladd, George Eldon, "A Commentary on the Revelation of John". William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972. ISBN 0-8028-1684-3
  • Lalonde, Peter & Patti, "Left Behind". Harvest House Publishers, 1995. ISBN 0-9636407-3-9
  • LaSor, William Sanford, "The Truth About Armageddon". Harper & Row, 1982. ISBN 0-06-064919-4
  • Lindsey, Hal, "Planet Earth - 2000 A.D." Western Front, Ltd., 1994. ISBN 0-9641058-0-2
  • Linker, Damon, "The Theocons". Doubleday, 2006. ISBN 978-0-385-51647-1
  • Moesta, Louis, "The Crucible and the Crown". WordFire Press, October 1999. ISBN 0-9673548-0-3
  • Paterson, Stella, "Calling Forth The Remnant By Way of the Cross". Preparing The Way Publishers, 2006. ISBN 1-929451-21-0
  • Pentecost, J. Dwight, "Things To Come". Dunham Publishing Company, 1962.
  • Perry, Richard H., "Of the Last Days: Listen, I Tell You a Mystery". Essence Publishing (Canada), July 2003. ISBN 1-55306-595-6
  • Pink, Arthur W., "The Antichrist". Kregel Publications, 1988. ISBN 0-8254-3539-0
  • Rausch, David A., "Zionism Within Early American Fundamentalism 1878-1918 - A Convergence of Two Traditions". The Edwin Mellen Press, 1979. ISBN 0-88946-875-3
  • Ryrie, Charles Caldwell, "Dispensationalism Today". Moody Press, 1965. ISBN 0-8024-2256-X
  • Shearer, S. R. (Steve), "The Beginning of the End". End of the Age Ministries, 1985. 85-8194
  • Spargimino, Larry, "The Anti-Prophets - The Challenge of Preterism". Hearthstone Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-57558-080-2
  • Sutton, William Josiah, "Ancient Prophecies About the Dragon, The Beast, and the False Prophet". The Institute of Religious Knowledge, 1999. ISBN 0-917013-02-6
  • Sutton, William Josiah, "The Antichrist 666". Teach Services, Inc., 1995. ISBN 1-57258-015-1
  • Walvoord, John F., "Every Prophecy of the Bible". Chariot Victory Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-7394-0215-3
  • Walvoord, John F., "The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook". Victor Books, 1977. ISBN 0-89693-509-4
  • White, E. G., "America in Prophecy". Inspiration Books East, Inc., 1888. ISBN 0-916547-04-3
  • Woodrow, Ralph, "His Truth is Marching On -Advanced Studies on Prophecy in the Light of History". Ralph Woodrow Evangelistic Assn., Inc., 1996 Edition. ISBN 09169380304
  • Woods, Dennis James, "Unlocking the Door: A Key to Biblical Prophecy". Vital Issues Press, June 1994. ISBN 1-56384-039-1
  • Ybarra, Adolfo Ricardo, "Las Bases de la Fe Postribulacional - The Basis of the Post-tribulational Faith".

External links

  • The Approaching Advent Of Christ (A critical, post-tribulational examination of the teachings of J.N. Darby) by Alexander Reese
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