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Question:  I have some questions on the rapture. In your studies, you don't quote Revelation 3:10 or John 14:1-3 as evidence for it though most people do. Why is this.

Response:  It is true that neither Rev.3:10 nor Jn.14:1-3 figure in my treatment of the "pre-tribulational rapture". This is mainly because I was more concerned with demonstrating what the Bible does teach (our resurrection and gathering together to be with Christ at His second advent).

You are correct that most who teach a miraculous deliverance of believers before the Great Tribulation begins (commonly known as the "rapture") do use the two passages you mention to support their theory. I do not believe that either text teaches this; nor do I believe that anyone who is not already (erroneously) convinced of the truth of a pre-tribulational rapture would take these passages to suggest it.

Rev.3:10: Much ink has been spilled debating whether the Greek word ek here means "out of the midst of" or "out before contact with". The word is not inherently so specific (any more than our English word "from" is) and it really doesn't matter much in any case. Christ is telling the Philadelphians that they will not experience the tribulation. We are not the Philadelphians; they passed on to be with the Lord hundreds of years ago and so these words have been fulfilled in their immediate, literal sense (please see the link in Coming Tribulation part 2A:  "Philadelphia: the Era of Revival"). It is true that scripture, especially prophecy, often also has a future or more general interpretation. In the case of the seven churches, the broader interpretation is that of the seven ages of the church. Philadelphia is the penultimate generation of the Church; that is, the one before the last one. The era of reformation and reform (terminating, I believe, in the late 19th century) was indeed a great epoch in the history of the Church of Christ, and it can be rightly said of these great believers that they "kept My command to endure patiently" NIV. Like the historical Philadelphians, these "Philadelphia-era" believers have been spared the trauma of the tribulation. Not so the lukewarm Laodiceans, whose pattern our current generation is following (see the link:  "Laodicea: the Era of Degeneration").

Jn. 14:1-3: Jesus comforted His disciples with the assurance that He would shortly be with the Father in heaven and that there would be a place for them there as well. Before the ascension of Christ, believers did not go to the third heaven (the throne room of God) but to a compartment of Hades known as "Abraham's bosom" (see parts 1 & 2 of The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation). Historically, this passage too has been fulfilled. Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father and His disciples (11 plus Paul) are there with Him; all Church-age believers who have died are there with Him as well, so He has indeed prepared a place for us all. But this is a temporary place: as Rev.21-22 makes quite clear, our final, ultimate place of residence will be on the new earth in New Jerusalem when God Himself returns to earth for the final fulfillment of all things.

See also the following links:

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

I hope this all helps,

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

 


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