Jimmy DeYoung believes that at the rapture of the church (when the church is gathered to be with the Lord) Jesus doesn’t appear in the clouds with great glory. Instead, he believes the church will just disappear in a twinkling of an eye, but is this what the Bible actually teaches?
He claims Revelation 4:1 (“Come up hither”) is describing the rapture of the church. Yet this scripture is just a word to the apostle John to come and see the future. If taken literally, it doesn’t describe the rapture. So when does the rapture of the church actually occur?
If you were to gather together all the New Testament verses on the coming of Jesus to gather his church, you would find certain characteristics repeating themselves over and over again.
- The trumpet will sound. (1 Corinthians 15:51, Matthew 24:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16)
- The sun will be darkened and the moon will no longer give its light. (Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24, Revelation 6:12)
- The church will be gathered from the four winds. (Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:27, Revelation 7:1)
- The world will see Jesus coming in the clouds with great glory. (Matthew 24:30, Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27, Revelation 6:16)
- The gathering of the church occurs after the tribulation period. (Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24, Revelation 7:9-14)
- The dead in Christ will be raised first and then we’ll all be made incorruptible, in the twinkling of an eye, and will meet Jesus together in the clouds. (1 Thessalonians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
As you can see from the above verses, there is no secret rapture! The gathering of the church by the Lord is always accompanied by trumpets, signs in the sun and moon, clouds, glory, and the revelation of Jesus to the world.
It’s also important to note it happens after the saints are persecuted during the tribulation period. There’s no indication that the church will be taken away before this time of suffering, regardless of how DeYoung claims the church is gone in Revelation 4:1 when John is called “up hither.”
Some pre-tribbers claim that Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referring to the Jews as the “elect” who will be gathered, but then why does Paul give the same description of the rapture for Christians in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18?
“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. (1 Thess, 4:16-18).
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor. 15:51-53).
These two scriptures aren’t referring to the Jews (supposedly the “elect,”) yet they give the same description of the rapture found in Matthew 24:31.
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. (Matthew 24:31)
Finally, in the book of Revelation, the order found is as follows:
- Jesus opens the first four seals and the four horsemen of the apocalypse are loosed. As I explained in part one, this is not a time of God’s judgment on the world.
- Jesus opens the 5th seal and the martyrs cry out wanting to know how much longer until the judgment will come.
- Jesus opens the 6th seal and we see all the signs consistent with the rapture of the church: the sun is darkened, the clouds are rolled back, and the world tries to hide from the face of Jesus.
- The angels hold back the four winds and mark the Jews, who go through the wrath of God unscathed, while the church that came out of the tribulation is now before the throne singing the song of salvation.
This picture shows a consistent view of the rapture. No contortions are required to make it all fit together. It’s a simple scenario. The return of Jesus occurs at the sixth seal. At the seventh seal there is silence in heaven for a half hour and then the seven trumpets of judgment are sounded. This is when the wrath of the lamb is poured out on the earth.
The church is here for the tribulation period, but it’s removed before the wrath of God is poured out because “God has not appointed us to wrath.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9) Jesus comes back again with the saints, on white horses, at Armageddon. This isn’t an immediate return, like some claim it must be, but the church is safe with Jesus for the time period while the world is suffering God’s wrath.
Jimmy DeYoung and other pre-tribulation proponents believe they have the only view that can be supported by a “literal interpretation of the scriptures,” but the scripture where they say the rapture occurs (Revelation 4:1) wouldn’t even be able to be taken literally! I really wish that someone would respond with an explanation for how they justify this interpretation.
The pre-tribulation rapture is not as easily supported by scripture as Jimmy DeYoung thinks. In fact, it’s a contortion of the Bible which has little scriptural support!