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The End Times

Is the rapture of the church a doctrine of demons? I am quite confused on the pre-tribulation, post-tribulation and no rapture.

I will try to give an adequate answer in a brief space. The word, rapture, means to be caught up. The doctrinal concept comes from the physical catching up of the saints to be with the Lord. As such, the rapture is a fact clearly taught in the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 states, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." As you can see, we will be caught up. There is definitely a rapture.

With most Bible teachers, the disagreement comes with the timing of the rapture. (Though there are liberals who deny it altogether.) To explain this requires me to define some terms. First, there is the millennium. This is the doctrinal name for the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth. Revelation 20:1-7 mentions this thousand years six different times. Generally, people line up three ways on this event.

  1. You have people who do not think the reign is literal. They are called amillennialists, which means "no millennium."
  2. You have people who think that Jesus Christ will come at the close of the thousand years. They believe that the gospel of Christ will conquer the world and then Christ will come to His own. These people are called post-millenialists because Jesus comes after (post) the thousand-year reign.
  3. There are those who believe that a thousand years of peace on earth requires the presence of Jesus Christ. These are pre-millennialists because they believe that Jesus will come before (pre) the thousand-year reign. I am a premillennialist because I believe it fits the Bible best.

Most premillennialists believe that the thousand-year reign will be preceded by a tribulation period of seven or, for some, three and a half years. They also believe that at some point Jesus will come for His own saints and take them up to be with Him before He comes down to the earth (as in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). However, I am losing count as to the different teachings on when Jesus will come. It seems to get more complicated each year. I will list the views I have heard the most.

  1. Some believe that Jesus will come at the end of the tribulation and immediately come back down with the saints for His kingdom reign. These people believe in the post-tribulation rapture.
  2. Others believe that Jesus will come in the middle of the tribulation. This is called mid-tribulation rapture.
  3. Still others are teaching what they call pre-wrath rapture. As I understand this, it may not be exactly in the middle of the tribulation but it comes before God actually pours His wrath out on the earth.
  4. Though its proponents may be splintering some, the most common teaching is pre-tribulation rapture. This means that Jesus comes at the beginning of the tribulation. This is my position. I believe that the New Testament strongly teaches that Jesus could have come at any time since the ascension of Christ. I do not see this as being possible unless He comes before the events of the tribulation as described in Revelation. I also see a strong New Testament emphasis on looking for the Son. Yet, I observe that those who teach other positions often get carried away in looking for signs. There are other reasons for my belief, but this gives you the idea.

The way people get carried away with arguing for their position and attacking all others, I can see how you might think that this is a doctrine of devils. However, it is just people trying to understand Bible prophecy. And, since we are all human, this opens up the door for human error. However, I can assure you that it is not a doctrine of devils.