The Biblical Impossibility of the Post-Tribulation Rapture

This paper examines seven reasons why the post-tribulation Rapture is Biblically impossible

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1.    The post-tribulation Rapture contradicts the calling out of the 144,000 Jews “before the earth is harmed”

The calling out of the 144,000 Jewish virgin males in the book of Revelation (Rev. 7:1-8; 14:1-5) readily suggests, if not demands, a pre-Tribulation Rapture.  It is clear that the 144,000 are saved before the Tribula­tion begins:  “do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their fore­heads” (Rev. 7:3).  More­over, it should be noted that the 144,000 Jewish Christians are not only saved be­fore the Tribulation period begins, but in fact are the first persons saved af­ter the Rapture occurs:  “These have been pur­chased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.” The first per­sons saved during the Church Age (i.e., the “first fruits” of the Church Age harvest) were the 120 disciples (including Peter and several women) in the Up­per Room, then the 3,000 Jews who responded to Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, then the ones who were being added day by day (Acts 2:47), and then the 5,000 Jews (including widows) who responded the Peter’s second sermon a few weeks later.  In the early years of the church, the Gospel always went “to the Jew first and then to the Gentile” (Rom. 1:16; Acts 13:46).  It seems logical, then, that the Gospel will also go forth “to the Jew first and then to the Gentile” after the Rapture.  Accordingly, the 144,000 are the first persons saved, perhaps in the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the Rapture.

Moreover, the calling out of the 144,000 before the earth or sea or trees are harmed (Rev. 7:3) renders—because of the Law of Non-Contradiction—the post-tribulation Rap­ture position Bib­lically impossible:  by the time a post-tribula­tion Rapture would take place, a minimum of one-half of the earth’s popula­tion will have been killed (Rev. 6:3-8; 9:13-18); Israel will have been denuded by the Antichrist; a worldwide earth­quake will have taken place (Rev. 6:12-14); a third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all the green grass will have been burned up (Rev. 8:7); a third of the sea will have become blood (Rev. 8:8); a third of all marine life will have died (Rev. 8:9); a third of the riv­ers and lakes will have become bitter (Rev. 8:10-11); the earth’s oceans will have become blood and all marine life will have died (Rev. 16:3); the earth’s fresh water supply will have turned into blood (Rev. 16:4); a final worldwide earthquake—the most severe in human history—will have taken place (Rev. 16:17-19); and all the earth’s islands and mountains will have disappeared (Rev. 16:20).   Thus, it would be wholly untenable for an expositor of Scripture to suggest that the earth has “not yet been harmed” by the time a post-tribulation Rapture takes place—a stance which post-tribulation proponents would have to take if they are to interpret God’s word at face value.   Indeed, not only will the earth have been “harmed” by the time a post-tribulation Rapture would take place, it will have been ripped apart.

2.    The post-tribulation Rapture contradicts the many passages of Scrip­ture which teach that the Millennial Kingdom will be populated by people with flesh and blood bodies (as well as people with resurrec­tion bodies)

If the Rapture of the Church takes place at the end of the Tribulation, then no “sheep” will be left on earth to be evaluated (Matt. 25:31-46) when Christ returns to the earth thirty days later to save Israel from annihilation and to set up His Millennial reign over the earth:  only the goats will remain.  Thus, in the post-tribulation Rapture scenario, only the goats will be left on earth for Christ to judge (thus contradicting Christ’s teaching in Matt. 25:31-46).  Because the goats will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, and because the sheep who return to the earth with Christ will have resurrection bodies, then no one would have flesh and blood bodies to repopulate the earth during the Millennial reign of Christ, thus contradicting countless prophecies about Messiah’s reign over the earth.

3.    The post-tribulation Rapture contradicts Christ’s promise to keep born-again Christians “from the hour of testing which is about to come upon the whole world.”

The Lord Himself promises that Church Age believers will not go through the Tribulation.  Jesus tells His sheep:  “Because you have kept the word of My persever­ance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10). Jesus states un­equivocally that He will keep His chil­dren—born-again Christians—from the “hour of testing.”  Because this hour of testing is to come upon the whole world (and because the context of the Lord’s promise is the book of Revelation, which deals with the End-Times and the Tribulation judgments), it is clear that Christ is talk­ing about keeping His children out of the Tribu­lation period.  Only the pre-tribulation Rapture coincides with Christ’s promise.  The post-Tribulation Rapture position, on the other hand, rejects this promise.

Those who hold to the post-tribulation Rapture argue that Christ does not prom­ise to take his children out of the Tribulation but only to protect them during the Tribu­la­tion.  Yet such an ar­gument patently contra­dicts certain passages in Revelation which state that tens of millions of Chris­tians will be murdered and martyred during the Tribulation (Rev. 7:9-17; Rev. 20:4).  How has Christ thus “protected” Christians dur­ing the Tribulation if millions of Christians are slaughtered? 

4.     The post-tribulation Rapture contradicts Paul’s teaching that born-again Christians are not “destined for wrath”

The Apostle Paul teaches that Church Age believers will not go through the Tribulation.  Paul states in I Thessalonians 5:9: “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul presents exactly the same promise as Christ:  believers (the “us” in Paul’s pas­sage) are not destined to go through “wrath” (the Tribulation).

5. The post-tribulation Rapture fails to harmonize with the Lord’s many exhortations that His return for the Church will be sudden, unan­nounced, and as un­expected as a thief entering a home at night.

Once the Middle-East peace treaty be­tween the Antichrist and Israel is signed, the Christian knows from Scripture that Christ will return bodily to the earth exactly 2,550 days after the signing of the treaty—1,260 days to the breaking of the treaty and 1,290 days from the breaking of the treaty to the bodily return of Christ (Dan. 12:11-12).  Thus, a person who holds to the post-tribulation position need not be looking for an imminent, unexpected, any-moment Rapture of the Church, but indeed need only be looking for the signing of the Antichrist’s peace treaty.  Such Christians could then live it up until the end of the Tribulation, should they choose to do so, and later get ready for a “Rapture.”  Un­fortunately for such Christians, they probably will not have survived the Tribulation pe­riod:  true Chris­tians will be hunted down and murdered by the Apostate Church (the “harlot”) during the first half of the Tribulation and by the Antichrist’s follow­ers during the second half of the Tribulation (Rev. 12:17; 13:6,7; 17:6).  To be sure, the whole con­cept of “immi­nence”—the Lord’s coming for His “bride” (the Church) unannounced and at any moment, as taught by Christ in the Gos­pels and as pictured in the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13)—is rejected by the post-Tribulation position.

6.    The post-Tribulation Rapture fails to harmonize with Daniel’s Seventy Weeks prophecy.

On the Day of Pentecost in 30 A.D., God interrupted His prophetic plan for Israel (Dan. 9:24-27) so that He could begin to fulfill His purposes in the Gentile na­tions (Romans 11:25-26).  When God finishes this Gentile grace, He will Rapture the Church and will then once again undertake for His people Israel in order to bring Daniel’s “Sev­enty Weeks” prophecy to completion.  The post-tribulation Rapture posi­tion simply cannot be harmonized with this Seventy Weeks prophecy (God’s previous and still-future dealings with Israel—with a now nearly 2000-year Church Age “pa­renthesis” in the middle).

7.   The post-tribulation Rapture fails to harmonize with the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13).

The first century Jewish betrothal was unlike the typical Gentile engagement of today.  In the Jewish betrothal, the bridegroom, after proposing to his loved one, would “go away” to his “father’s house” to “make a place” for them to live on the father’s land.  Often he would be away for a year while he completed their home.  Then, when the home was ready and all the arrangements had been made for the wedding feast, the bridegroom, in a touch of Jewish romance, would come for his bride unexpectedly, usually in the middle of the night.  The bride, of course, was to be alert and ready for his return, eager to have their marriage consummated.  To be fully prepared (after all, her groom might come for her in the middle of the night), she would have to have her lamp trimmed with oil so that she would have sufficient light to go out to greet him.  And so it is to be with the Church, the Bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-32; Rev. 19:7).  All Christians indwelled with the Holy Spirit (the “oil”) are to be alert and ready (Matt. 25:13) for an unexpected, any-moment coming of the Bridegroom (Christ) to take them to the Father’s home for the consummation of their wedding (the completion and per­fection of their salvation) and for the subsequent wedding banquet prepared for them by the Father.  All “Christians” not indwelled with the Holy Spirit (i.e., persons who call themselves Christians but who are not born again) will be left behind on earth—and will not be able to attend the wedding banquet (Matt. 25:11-12).  Because some of the Christians not having the oil (the Holy Spirit) will attempt to come to banquet “later” (Matt. 25:11), the interpreter of the passage can be sure that a period of time takes place between the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Christ (which takes place after the banquet—Rev. 19:7-16).  Unfortunately, the post-tribulation Rapture viewpoint teaches that the Rapture and the Second Coming are simultaneous events—thus contradicting Christ’s teaching in Matthew 25:11.


The post-tribulation Rapture position, while well-meaning, contradicts Scripture in a number of ways and must be laid aside by born-again Christians who desire to in­ter­pret Bible prophecy accurately.  The post-tribulation Rapture position (1) con­tradicts Christ’s revelation to John that the 144,000 Jewish “first fruits” of God’s Tribulation har­vest will be called to salvation before the earth is harmed; (2) fails to provide for persons to be left on earth in a flesh and blood bodies to repopulate Christ’s Millennial Kingdom; (3) rejects Christ’s unequivocal promise to keep born-again believers from “the hour of testing, which is to come upon the whole earth” (the Tribulation period); (4) fails to har­mo­nize with Paul’s teaching that born-again Christians are not destined for wrath (the Tribulation period); (5) rejects Christ’s straightforward teaching on the unan­nounced, unexpected, any-moment nature of the Rapture; (6) fails to harmonize with Daniel’s Seventy Weeks prophecy; and (7) fails to harmonize with the Parable of the Ten Vir­gins.

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