Question & Answer Forum

Will the Church go through the Tribulation?

The Bible affirms the Church, which is the Body of Christ, will not experience “the Great Tribulation” or “the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” In this period of divine judgment, God will deal with the spiritual blindness and sins of Israel to restore her to Himself. Daniel 9:24-27 is an important passage describing Israel’s history from the desolation of Jerusalem by Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:15-21) to their restoration and blessing under Christ as their King. Believers of this dispensation are not mentioned in this prophecy or any other relating to Israel’s earthly hope or judgment. Our hope is heavenly for the wrath of God due us was on our wondrous Substitute at Calvary (Romans 8:1, 32-39).

2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 states the Day of the Lord, which includes the outpouring of His wrath upon the nations (first 42 months) and Israel, begins at the appearing of “the Man of Sin.” There must be a “taking out of the way” first. Till the Rapture, the work of the Holy Spirit and the presence of the Church restrains the manifestation of this “Wicked One” and therefore God’s wrath.

The Church, having been raptured, will not be God’s witness on earth during that period. 144,000 Jews are raised up preaching a message for the hope of Israel, not the hope of the Church.

In Christ, we are “children of light” and not “of darkness,” saved from the coming wrath appointed for the world (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:2-9).

Revelation 3:1 0 promises, “I will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon the whole world.” Ours is a “blessed hope,” “a comfort,” an imminent event, “For our citizenship (Young’s Literal) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior (Deliverer), the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

J. N. Smith

Is the “Rapture” distinct from Christ’s return to earth?

The second coming of Christ Ahas two segments: the rapture into the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17); the return onto the earth (Zechariah 14:4). The term “rapture,” from the expression “caught up” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), literally means “to snatch away” “The Lord Himself” (verse 16) comes to catch away into the air both the resurrected and living believers to “be with the Lord” (see John 14:3), for He has “not appointed us to wrath” (ch.5:9, 1:10, and Romans 5:9). In contrast, at His return to earth, the Lord comes accompanied by His saints (Zechariah 14:5, Revelation 19:14) and “His mighty angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:7). At this time, He executes wrath, “taking vengeance on them that know not God” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Another distinction in 1 Thessalonians is that Paul saw the Rapture as imminent; it could happen even while he wrote, since “we which are alive” (4:15, 17) included himself. He says the Thessalonians were presently waiting for “His Son from heaven” (1:10, see Titus 2:13). Again, in contrast the return to earth requires fulfilled signs (Matthew 24:3, 6, 15, 21, 29-30) before it will occur. It could not happen today. In addition, the expression, “the coming of the Son of Man” is linked only to His earthly return. Further, the change in both sleeping and living saints at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-53) was a mystery revealed only in the N.T. It had not been prophesied in O.T. portions regarding our Lord’s return to earth.

S. Thompson

Does 2 Thessalonians 2:7 toach that the Spirit of God will no longer be in the world after the Rapture?

Implicit in the question is the truth that the Holy Spirit of God, in His unique relation to the church (John 14:16), is the “Restrainer” in verse 7. This restraint will be removed at the Rapture, allowing the Man of Sin to be “revealed in his time” (verse 6). However, John saw in heaven “a multitude, which no man could number” “which came out of great tribulation” (Revelation 7:9, 14). These, together with the living “sheep” (Matthew 25:33), were born again in the tribulation after the rapture of the Church. The Spirit must then be operating on earth after the Rapture, otherwise individuals could not be born again (John 3:5). Further all that is accomplished for God in the testimony of the 144,000 sealed servants (Revelation 7:4) must be through the energy of the Spirit. The two slain witnesses (Revelation 11:11) must be resurrected by the Spirit of God (see also Romans 8:11).

W. Skates

How will believers during “the tribulation” differ from believers in this age?

Believers during Daniel’s 70th week will receive eternal life (John 3:5, with Ezekiel 36:25) and will enjoy spiritual “New Covenant blessings” (Jeremiah 31:33-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27). They will joyously anticipate the complete fulfillment of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 32:37-41; Ezekiel 36:28). “My Spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:27) is distinct from the promise to us, “We (Father and Son by the Spirit) will come unto him, and make Our abode with him” (John 14:23). In this age the believer’s body is the temple of the Spirit Who is “in you” (I Corinthians 6:19).

The Bride will have been raptured, therefore tribulation believers are not “in Christ” or “one with Christ” (Ephesians 2:13-18; 5:30-32).

D. Oliver