Rapture Purpose or What Good is a Post-Trib Rapture?

Emailed question:

I have studied and taught bible prophecy for many years also; my question for you is -if the rapture is at the end of the great tribulation -why would we need one at all?

This is a great question, as few understand the real purpose of the rapture. It also underscores a truth about the pretrib rapture doctrine that I have observed repeatedly over the years. Believing in the pretrib rapture incurs a great barrier to correctly understanding the bulk of end time Bible prophecy.

Pretrib Rapture = Escape

Naturally, based on the supposed pretrib timing of the rapture, pretribbers believe that the purpose of the rapture is to deliver the saints from a supposedly unbearable period on earth, the Great Tribulation. So dreadful is the Great Tribulation in the minds of pretribbers, that they liken the concept of us being on earth for it to wife abuse (“Jesus would not put his bride through the Great Tribulation!“).

However, when the verses speaking directly on the timing of the rapture and the associated resurrection of the dead in Christ (1Th 4:15-17) are used instead of typical allegorical or types and shadows style cases for the rapture timing, a different picture emerges. The rapture gathering is “after the tribulation of those days” (Mt 24:29-31) or at the “seventh” or “last trump” (1Co 15:52=Rev 11:15).

Post-trib Rapture = Reward

Once you correctly conclude that the rapture is at the 7th trumpet after the Great Tribulation ends, it is then possible to see related key rapture passages that reveal the true rapture purpose. Fortunately, all of these verses can be read plainly and literally. No subjective allegorical reading or “types and shadows” are used such as is required to argue a pretrib timing to the rapture.

Here’s the first passage to look at on the rapture purpose:

Revelation 11:15, 18 (ESV) —  15 the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
18 The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

Reward of: Eternal Life…

God uses the rapture to “reward” his servants. But how and why? As the writer above noted, obviously this reward cannot be an escape if the rapture happens after the Great Tribulation. Notice that just like the passage above, Paul also touches on this reward being given to both the living and the dead in Christ at the same time:

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 (ESV) — 50  I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51  Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

…Just In Time To Rule For 1000 Years

The purpose is clearly to reward the saints with eternal life. But what is the reason for the post-trib timing of the rapture (and resurrection) giving this change to eternal life? Revelation 20 again mentions this resurrection of the righteous (that coincides with the rapture) and sheds light on the purpose to the timing:

Revelation 20:4 (ESV) —  Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

The resurrection(/rapture) timing is clearly right before the Millennium, the period we saints will rule the earth with Christ. Now this all makes sense. We change from physical to spiritual bodies at this time since you simply cannot rule for more than around 120 years in a physical body. Since we saints are to reign, this is also when the dead in Christ also finally “come back to life.” Plainly, they do not come back to physical bodies. As Paul said above, we are quickened or changed to incorruptible, immortal bodies as “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” a spiritual kingdom.

In conclusion, the rapture is about rewarding the living and dead saints at the same time with eternal, immortal, spiritual bodies so that they can immediately reign with Christ at the start of the Millennium. The rapture is not some celestial escape from the Great Tribulation for the saints. Instead, God has a terrestrial escape plan for his servants that is described in Dan 11 and Rev 12. Only when you see the rapture in it’s proper timing do you see its proper purpose which then allows you to see the real escape plan for the Great Tribulation that God has in store for us.

This War: Is God In Control or Just Evil?

Mark wrote:

IF there is a real god, he either is IN control or he IS NOT in control, right? If he IS in control, then he has everything just like he wants with wars, fighting, killing, torture, hate, etc., and all the negative things he made, so he is a big Ahole. If he IS NOT in control then he does not fit the description of a god and is not so nice, perfect, and all powerful and does not exist……..There is no in-between and neither of these descriptions is good, so he is only an imagination in your head………..Also, if we came from Adam and Eve, they had kids but then they had to have sex with each other to make more kids, and again, and again, so we are all decendants of inbreeds, right? yep inbreeds. so sorry

Hi Mark,

God is in control but has given us free will to choose how to live the life he gave us. He cannot give us free will then take it away everytime someone might do something hurtful or how would we ever learn it does not work for ourselves as freewill promises? That deaths and wars happen is solvable later becuase there is a resurrection and a time coming when God will rein things in to show the contrast of life under his government. But he could not “shove his religion down our throat” first before letting the need for his ways and government be historically demonstrated beyond any doubt. He will literally be saving the Earth from destruction when he steps in, proving our gift of life from him is incomplete without his instruction and government.

Inbreeding is only a problem after genetic mistakes crop up after many generations, which would not be the case in the first generations of offspring of something God had directly created. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c004.html

If you want more insight on why God is allowing the world to go the way he is now, including all kinds of fractured warring Churches operating in his name, see my book Mystery Of Disunity.


24 Elders In Heaven Before Christ?


I have been trying to figure out who are the 24 elders and I came to your article. You make some good points but something doesn’t add up for me. If the 24 elders are the firstfruits that were redeemed when the Messiah resurrected, then why are they mentioned in Revelation chapter 4 and the Lamb that was slain isn’t mentioned until Revelation chapter 5. I don’t know, maybe I’m just nitpicking Thank you for your time,

May YHWH bless you and keep you,


Well, the more disturbing part for me is not the chapter separation but the fact that at first no one was found worthy to open the scroll, then suddenly a slain lamb is found worthy. Is this to denote a time gap or is it just to emphasize the importance of Jesus’ sinless and sacrificial life ? If so, then that means the 24 elders are present chronologically before Christ and my theory about them rising together after the Jesus’ resurrection cannot be right. But it’s hard to say that Revelation 5 intends that meaning for sure.

However, when Paul talks about everyone falling in one of three resurrections and that the first one Christ was in included “firstfruits” (plural), that’s to me is much clearer and would point to Messiah and the firstfruits with him coming together:

1 Corinthians 15:22-24 (HCSB) — 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: [#1 – 1st century] Christ, the firstfruits; [#2 – post trib] afterward, at His coming, the people of Christ. 24 [#3 – post mil] Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power.

I have to go with what the clearest scriptures say when a less clear passage could be taken to have a contradictory meaning.