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    New Covenant Ministries
    Will Christians Go Through
    the Great Tribulation?

    Bobby Ripp*

    As I sit and write, I am continuously thinking about those whom I am writing to. Who are these people I am writing to, and for what purpose do I write?. . .

    1 I write to those lost and weak souls of the world so the "Light of Truth" will maybe open their eyes (Jn 1:9). I write to humankind who has more faith in money than in Almighty God. I write to people who are filled with the wisdom of ages past and who can elegantly recite from memory the Holy Scriptures, but they cannot comprehend nor convey the spiritual truths concerning God's Divine mysteries.

    Moreover, I believe the immorality and idolatry that permeates the present world are at the same level as when God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And the abomination and the tolerance of the Christian community is at the same level as when God passed judgment on Israel, in 626 B.C., for the Israelites' devotion to the "queen of heaven" (goddess Asherah) and their acceptance of all forms of religious practice. In addition, I believe it is possible that humankind has surpassed the degree of sin when God destroyed the world with a deluge, during the days of Noah.

    Therefore, because of the degree of sin that is currently in the world and throughout the Christian community, humanity and the present day Christian Church are no match for the powers of Satan and his demons. For example, many of God's ministers are preaching prosperity, tolerance of all world religions, and the importance of giving money. Yet, ministers need to be equipping Christians to become soldiers of Christ (2 Tim 2:3-4). And many of the same ministers are also preaching peace, peace, when no peace can be found (Eze 22: 1-31, 1 Th 5:3).

    The majority of the remaining ministers who are not preaching peace and prosperity are preaching pre-tribulation rapture of God's saints (faithful Christians). Although teaching pre-tribulation rapture appears as though it is a worthy doctrine to advocate, (that could prepare Christians for the return of Jesus Christ, and awaken the lost to the need of being redeemed through Christ), pre-tribulation rapture is not a conclusive doctrine. In other words, there is not one scripture in the Bible that cites conclusively that Jesus Christ will return prior to the "Great Tribulation" to rapture faithful Christians. Yes. There are many scriptures that cite a rapture taking place; nonetheless, none of these scriptures cite when the rapture is to befall.

    Contrary to popular belief, the pre-tribulation doctrine has not been conducive for the Christian community and the ministry of "reaching lost souls." The Christian community is less prepared today for Jesus' return, and the doctrine of pre-tribulation rapture is also one of the reasons why many of God's elite Christians have become passive and tolerant. For instance, instead of God's elite battling Satan and Satan's demons, many of God's elite are passive and tolerant towards idolatry befalling God's Church, and many of God's elite are just waiting for Jesus' immanent return. Yes, many faithful Christians believe they are battling the forces of darkness, but the battle many of these Christians are fighting is against a liberal society and a liberal government, rather than against the real enemy who is Satan and his demons. I say this, because very little is being done to abate the New Age and Marian movements, as both are growing daily, and nothing is presently being done to warn or educate the human community about the dangers of the UFO phenomenon.

    Regarding those ministers who are preaching peace and prosperity; according to the Bible whenever one is preaching peace, when there is no peace, one is to be considered to be teaching falsely.

    Jer 6:14; "They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, `Peace, peace!' When there is no peace". Jer 12:12-13; "The plunders have come on all the desolate heights in the wilderness, For the sword of the Lord shall devour from one end of the land to the other end of the land; No flesh shall have peace. They have sown wheat but reaped thorns; They have put themselves to pain but do not profit. But be ashamed of your harvest because of the fierce anger of the LORD."

    Jer 22: 20-21; "Go up to Lebanon, and cry out, and lift up your voice in Bashan; Cry from Abarim, for all your lovers are destroyed. I spoke to you in your prosperity, But you said, 'I will not hear.' This has been your manner from your youth, That you did not obey My voice."

    Do not think for a second I am some kind of mercenary or a radical doom-and-gloom proponent of society. On the contrary, the thought that gives me peace more than anything is to know that someday the pain and suffering of the present world will be over. Also, the greatest moment of my existence will be when I am standing in the presence of the Almighty God in the serene ambiance of Heaven. In other words, I cannot wait for the day that our LORD comes to take me home, for I would like nothing more than for the rapture to take place today. However, I am still here "alive and well," so I must "go about" our Father's business while it is still daylight, for the hour of darkness is upon us.

    In this exposť (End Time Deceptions), the distortions of the Holy Scriptures I am exposing that are coming from God's Church are not being revealed by the light of my own wisdom, but by the written Word of God, which is the Light of Truth (Is 40:8, Heb 4:12, Jn 8:31-33, Mt 4:4). By God's written Word, no definitive support, (those who are pre-tribulation advocates), from the scriptures can be established that distinctly asserts that the rapture is to occur before the "Great Tribulation" (Rev 7:9-14).

    Many ministers who teach pre-tribulation rapture employ the apostle Paul's letter written to the Corinthians:

    1 Cor 15:51-52; "Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed".

    In the preceding scripture, Paul's teaching is affirming the rapture of Christians in some future event ---- whenever the last trumpet sounds. [editor note: Since there are trumpet judgments during the seven year tribulation, the last trump cannot be before the tribulation.] However, the time when the rapture is to befall, was not Paul's subject matter at anytime during the discourse in 1st Corinthians chapter fifteen. (I believe the rapture was already an established doctrine at the time of Paul's epistle to the Corinthians, because according to Merrill F. Unger, Paul penned this first epistle to the Corinthians in 55 A.D. ---- and the first epistle to the Thessalonians that Paul also penned where Paul does expound on the timing of the rapture of faithful saints was written in 52 A.D.). Paul's importation of 1st Corinthians chapter 15 emphasis was based on the fact that the corruptible body cannot enter spiritual eternity without first being transformed into an immortal spirit. Nowhere in this passage of scripture does Paul say the rapture is to befall before the Great Tribulation.

    However, Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonians does put emphasis on the timing of the rapture of faithful Christians, also known as Jesus' second coming (the day of the LORD). Paul candidly and distinctly reveals to us the sequence of events just prior to our LORD'S return, when Jesus will rapture the faithful Christians who have endured to the end and those who are still alive at the time of Jesus' return.

    2 Th 2:1-4; "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him (this is one event not two events), we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition (antichrist), who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God". (parenthesis mine)

    Again, Paul plainly stated in the preceding scripture text that the saints of God will be in the world when the "Great Apostasy" takes place and when the antichrist is revealed. (However, Paul is not so candid about whom it is who holds the restraints on Satan. Yet, we can be assured that it is God's power being manifested to His Church through God's faithful people by His Holy Spirit who holds the reigns on Satan.) In the near future, the Christian Church will be unable to hold back Satan's aggressive assault whenever the "Great Apostasy" befalls the Christian community. In other words, I believe Christians will be in the world during the great tribulation, and Christians will also be in the world when the antichrist is revealed.

    Even Jesus states in the following discourse, known as the Olivet discourse, that He is not coming until the conclusion of the "Great Tribulation:"

    Mt 24: 29-31,39-41; "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. . . . and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left."

    In verse 29, of the preceding scripture, Jesus reveals that He is coming at the end of the Great Tribulation. Then in Verse 30, Jesus said He will be coming in the clouds. In Verse 31, Jesus said at His arrival the trumpet will sound, then He will send His angels out to the four corners of the earth to gather His people.

    Another popular scripture ministers employ is 1st Thessalonians, chapter four, where Paul describes the rapture as a time when the dead in Christ will be taken from their graves first; then, those saints who are still alive will be caught-up. Paul's description of the rapture in this discourse is synonymous to the description that Jesus gives us in the gospel of Matthew, in the 24th chapter ---- where Jesus states that He will be coming in the clouds to gather His people, (Mt 24:30), and that He will be coming as a thief (Mt 24:43-44, Rev 16:15). Jesus also states that His arrival will be seen, and it will be heard as the "sound of a loud trumpet" (Mt 24:31).

    Many ministers will agree that the Olivet discourse of Matthew 24 is not the pre-tribulation rapture, but is instead the second coming of Jesus Christ. However, the same ministers also teach that Paul's discourse, in 1st Thessalonians, chapter four, is the pre-tribulation rapture. So, how can this be when both scriptures are revealing the same event?

    Th 4:15-17; For this we say to you by the word of the LORD, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the LORD will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the LORD Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air. And thus we shall always be with the LORD. Also read (1 Th 5:1-4, 2 Pet 3:10, Rev 16:15 & 3:3)

    With sincere humbleness, I implore all Christians to do a complete study on the timing of the rapture from God's written Word. And if your study is from commentaries, be sure to study both views: pre-tribulation and post-tribulation rapture. I also advise to reread the preceding scriptures from our LORD Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul, and present them before God's throne and petition God to reveal to you the truth of this controversial, but important teaching ---- a teaching concerning the timing of the rapture of faithful Christians!

    Does Pre-tribulation Rapture go against God's Divine Plan?

    In chapter 24 of Matthew or in any other scripture, no reference can be found where Jesus asserts that there will be a pre-tribulation rapture. If a phenomenal event like the pre-tribulation rapture was part of God's Divine Plan, then why did Jesus not at least once reveal this alleged major worldwide event?

    In the Olivet discourse, Jesus chronologically describes the end time events from the beginning of sorrows (Mt 24:8) to the time of His return (Mt 24:30). Throughout this entire discourse there is not one reference that gives even the smallest probability of a pre-tribulation rapture.

    Only twice is it recorded in the Bible where God raptures any of His people. Elijah (2K 2:1) and Enoch (Heb 11:5) were both raptured to heaven without having to experience death. However, God did not take these two great men until they had first completed their work for the cause of God's Divine Kingdom. Now, if God would have raptured Elijah while Elijah was on top of Mt. Carmel battling the prophets of Baal and Asherah (queen of heaven), that would have been at least one indication God might rapture His people from turbulent times. Nevertheless, God did not rapture Elijah while Elijah was engaging in battle, and God has never said (according to scripture) He would ever do such a thing at anytime!

    According to popular belief, it is said that God is going to rapture faithful Christians before the great and terrible tribulation period. However, contrary to popular belief, Jesus many times made the statement that faithful Christians must endure to the end (Mt 10:22, 24:13, Mk 13:13, Rev 2:26).

    For example, did Daniel not spend the entire night in the lions' den. And Stephen, who was one of the first deacons of the early Church, was he not also the first Christian martyr? If it is in God's Divine Plan to rapture His people during turbulent times, then why did God not rapture Stephen before Stephen was stoned to death? Instead, God protected Daniel from the lions during that night, and God gave Stephen the courage and the peace that Stephen needed to endure his stoning. Also, except for the apostle John, did not every apostle die a martyr's death?

    Many of Jesus' discourses recorded in the Bible proclaim, "Endure to the end." (Mt 24:13, Mk 13:13, Mt 10:22, Rev 2:26). God wants Christians to contemplate enduring to the end ...
    *The above is part of chapter nine of Bobby Ripp's book, "Endtime Deceptions" which can be read in full at http://www.nternet.org/~ripp.

    This page was created on 11 November 1998
    Lat updated on 2 February 2018