With A Shout!
In this part of our study, the following pre-tribulational claims will be examined:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For 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: 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.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
In this letter to the Thessalonian church, Paul informed the brethren of those who have fallen asleep (died as Christians). They were grieving as those who aren't saved (no hope). He said that if we believe Jesus died and rose again, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. Those who are alive and remain until the Lord's coming will not prevent those who died before that time.
Then Paul described the part of the Lord's Coming.
He will descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel with the trumpet of God;
At this time, the resurrected in Christ and the Ones who are alive up to the point of the Lords' return will forever be with the Lord.
He told them to comfort one another in knowing that the dead in Jesus will return with Him.
The pre-tribbers claim this happens before the tribulation. And since this is happens along with the scene described in First Corinthians chapter 15: "we will all be changed, in a moment within a twinkling of an eye...," this will go unnoticed by the non believers who are "left behind" when the church is caught up and Jesus brings the church back with Him into heaven.
They also believe The Lord's coming is in two "phases:" the first, before the tribulation when He "raptures the church out" in order to bring the Jews into evangelizing the world; and the second, when Jesus returns to do battle against the Anti-christ.
Another part of the pre-tribber's belief is that the resurrection for the Just will happen twice: the first at the Lord's "first phase" coming, where the dead in Christ will rise before the tribulation; the second at His "second phase" coming after the tribulation when the Lord resurrects the Old Testament Jews and the martyred "tribulation saints."
The pre-tribbers take issue of this passage in First Thessalonians because it doesn't describe the Lord's "touching down" on earth. And since, they assume the Lord doesn't "touch down" on earth, this means He is going back into heaven, which can only refer to a pre-trib rapture.
Since they claim that Jesus doesn't "touch down on earth," can we end this study right now and conclude that this is Jesus' "pre-trib coming?" Or should we continue and examine this scripture to see if this a "pre-trib" coming?
Does Paul say Jesus and the church will be brought into heaven by reading this part of First Thessalonians?
Since he doesn't, can we conclude this just by reading this passage that they are going into heaven?
Does Paul say "this" coming will be "secret" to the non believers?
Since he doesn't, can we conclude this just by reading this passage that it will be secret ?
If you are in a crowd and all of a sudden you hear a shout of a voice on an archangel and you hear a trump of God, wouldn't other people in the crowd also hear them also?
Paul says there will be a "shout," a "voice of the archangel," and a "trumpet of God." Wouldn't these sounds be loud enough to be heard by Christians? And then If these sounds are that loud, wouldn't everybody else hear it? Does Paul say that these sounds go unnoticed? since it doesn't, can we therefore conclude this is a "secret" coming?
Does Paul point out that this "coming of the Lord" will be the Lord's "pre-tribulational" coming? Does he say "before the tribulation, at the coming of the Lord?" Since he doesn't, then can we conclude just by reading this passage that it is?
When the Lord's coming is referred to in scriptures, there are descriptions such as "He appears," "all eyes will see Him," "the appearance of" are used. Sometimes there is no mention of an appearing. Can we conclude that since there is no reference to an appearing in those scriptures, that they refer to a "pre-trib" coming?
Can they point out in scripture where it says "Before the tribulation Jesus will gather the church and bring them back with Him into heaven?"
So, then the pre-trib assumptions cannot be proven by these scriptures the fourth chapter in First Thessalonians.
To continue with the pre-tribber claim that there is no mention of Jesus "touching down," the following passages of the scriptures where Jesus' coming is seen after the tribulation: Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 14:24-27; Luke 21:25-28; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 19:11-21, do any of these say He is "touching down" on earth?
These references are clearly post-tribulational and do not describe Jesus "touching down on" earth. Therefore we can conclude the 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 passage can be post-tribulational as well!
Is there anywhere in scripture that describes a post-tribulation rapture? In The first two Gospels, Jesus describes his coming. In Matthew:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days (great tribulation, v. 21) shall the sun 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: And 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 in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And he shall send 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.
Jesus says He will gather his elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other. The pre-tribbers claim that this isn't a rapture because nobody from heaven is brought back with Jesus. If what they are saying is so, is this the only scripture they can go with to establish their conclusion? Aren't there others? In Mark:
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light...And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Jesus Says in Mark He will gather His elect "from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth, and uttermost part of Heaven." Isn't He bringing back the ones who have died in Christ?
And they are gathered together with the ones alive on earth. Isn't He describing the rapture?
If we compare Mark 13 to 1 Thessalonians 4 we can conclude these happen at the same time, after the tribulation.
Looking back at the verse in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4: "... them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him (verse 14b).," "we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep., "...we who alive will remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent those who have fallen asleep (verse15b., "... and the dead in Christ shall rise first (verse 16c)...," Paul is saying the ones who are alive shall not precede the ones who have fallen asleep. He also says the dead in Jesus shall rise first. This is the key part of this passage in First Thessalonians and it rests on when the dead arise.
Are there two resurrections for the Just, as pre-tribbers claim, or is the dead in Christ raised after the tribulation?
In the gospel of John, Jesus' friend, Lazarus died while Jesus was returning to Bethany. Martha, Lazarus' sister meets Jesus. He tells her that Lazarus is asleep. And Jesus tells her "Thy brother shall rise again (John 11:23) " Martha responds " I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. verse 24b)"
Martha, a Jew knew there was a resurrection at the last day. Pre-tribbers believe that resurrection is after the tribulation.
Jesus, earlier in John said:
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:39-40, 44, 54
In these above verses, everyone who beholds and believes in Jesus, He will raise them up at the last day. Does this happen before the Tribulation? Who will be risen up on the last day? If Jesus says everyone who believes in Him, doesn't this include the saints who die during the tribulation? Since dead tribulation saints can't be risen before the tribulation, they are raised after the tribulation. Therefore, we must conclude all who believe in Jesus will be risen at the last day, after the tribulation.
As we look further into John, Jesus said to his disciples:
He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him no: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
In this part of scripture, Jesus says the one who rejects His sayings, is judged by the words He spoke in the last day.
One thing we do know, Jesus does not come in this instance before the tribulation. The one who rejects Jesus will be judged by the words He spoke in the last day which is after the tribulation. And all who believe in Jesus will be raised on the last day!
John in another book describes a scene in Revelation after the tribulation:
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
In the above scripture, the ones who came to life were martyred because of
· the testimony of Jesus,
· the word of God,
· and those did not worship nor took the mark of the beast.
These include all martyrs in Christ. John said "this is the first resurrection." John didn't say this is the "second phase of the first resurrection," as pre-tribbers claim.
Can they point out in Revelation there is a "first phase of the first resurrection" before this one?
If this is the first resurrection, can there a resurrection before this one?
Since there's only one resurrection for the just which is after the tribulation and the ones who are alive at the coming of the Lord cannot be caught up before the dead in Christ are raised, therefore, we must conclude there is no pre-tribulation rapture.
I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
 phthanō fthan'-o Greek) Apparently a primary verb; to be beforehand, that is, anticipate or precede; by extension to have arrived at: - (already) attain, come, prevent.-Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.