answers

to bible prophecy questions
Will all believers be raptured?

Yes, all believers will be raptured. 

The rapture is a supernatural future event when the entire church (all true believers all over the world) will suddenly be “caught up” to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament Greek word used to speak of the rapture is harpazó, which means “to seize, catch up, snatch away.” The concept is connected to a powerful and open display of force, or taking a prize away from an enemy—and doing so quickly and without warning. This event will remove the church from earth immediately prior to a time of God’s judgment known as the tribulation period (Revelation 3:10). Every single churchage believer (living and dead), and every person unable to discern right from wrong (the unborn, young children, etc.) will be taken in the rapture. 

This mindblowing future event is one that all Christians should long for and look forward to. In a split second, all churchage believers will be freed from sin and enter the presence of the Lord. The rapture is clearly taught in Scripture and is designed to give all believers great hope and joy. We are to live with this expectation and told to “encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Behold! I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 51-53).

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:3).

 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 3:10).

Excerpted from A Quick Reference Guide to the End Times by Jeff Kinley and Todd Hampson

Strong’s Concordance #26, harpazó, https://biblehub.com.

How can we know the pre-trib rapture view is accurate?

A clear promise guaranteeing the church’s rapture before the Tribulation is found in Revelation 3:10: “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth” (niv, emphasis added). Though this promise appears in a letter written to the church at Philadelphia, we can be certain it refers to members of the universal church throughout the ages:

  1. the passage refers to a future event;
  2. the church of Philadelphia has long since been destroyed and disbanded;
  3. this was a letter to all the churches; and
  4. this promise will not be fulfilled until a time of trial that comes upon the whole world—not just the church at Philadelphia.

In addition, the word “from” (Greek, ek) in Revelation 3:10 literally means “out of,” which is how it’s rendered many other times in the Bible. God is saying, “I will keep you out of the wrath to come.”

Christians Are Not Appointed to Wrath

According to 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (KJV). This passage, which follows the strongest passage on the rapture in the Bible (in 1 Thessalonians 4) must be considered in the light of its context.

For our purposes here, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (KJV) makes it clear that God has not “appointed us to wrath” (the Tribulation) but to “obtain salvation,” or deliverance from it. Since so many saints will be martyred during the Tribulation, there will be few alive at the glorious appearing of Christ. This promise cannot mean, then, that He will deliver believers during the time of wrath, for the saints who live through the Tribulation will not be delivered; in fact, most will be martyred. To be delivered out of it, the church will have to be raptured before it begins.

Since the Tribulation is especially the time of God’s wrath, and since Christians are not appointed to wrath, then it follows that the church will be raptured before the Tribulation. In short, the rapture occurs before the Tribulation, while the glorious appearing occurs after it.

The Church Is Absent in Revelation 4–18

The church is mentioned 17 times in the first three chapters of Revelation, but after John (a member of the church) is called up to heaven at the beginning of chapter 4, he looks down on the events of the Tribulation, and the church is not mentioned or seen again until chapter 19, when she returns to the earth with her Bridegroom at His glorious appearing. Why? The answer is obvious: She isn’t in the Tribulation. She is raptured to be with her Lord before it begins!

Only a Pre-Tribulation Position Assures a Population for the Millennium

If the rapture were to occur at the middle or end of the Tribulation, as some well-intentioned people suggest, there would not be anyone left in their natural bodies to populate the millennial kingdom. All believers would be raptured and given resurrected bodies while all unbelievers, according to Jesus’ own teachings in Matthew 25:31-46, would be cast into “everlasting punishment.” During the 1,000-year millennial kingdom, there will be an enormous population, most of whom will become believers. But only those people who missed the rapture because of their unbelief who accept Christ during the Tribulation and manage to survive the Antichrist’s holocaust through God’s acts of mercy will be able to propagate during the millennium.

Excerpted from Bible Prophecy for Everyone by Tim LaHaye.

What are the different views on the timing of the rapture?

Pre-Tribulation View: the rapture will take place before the events of the tribulation unfold. 

Mid-Tribulation View:  the rapture will take place in the middle of the seven-year tribulation period.

Post-Tribulation View: the rapture will take place at the end of the tribulation simultaneous with Christ’s second coming. 

What is the purpose of the Millennial Kingdom?

Following Jesus’ second coming, God could have moved us right into heaven and eternity. So why does He plan on establishing an earthly kingdom? What’s the point of it? There are several purposes, actually, and many of them have to do with God keeping His promises to Israel. But first, the main reason there will be a millennial kingdom is to give Jesus what is rightfully His—preeminence and dominion over all (Psalm 2:7-8; Colossians 1:15-18; Hebrews 1:1-2).

Second, during the millennial kingdom, God will fulfill the totality of His promise to Abraham regarding blessing of his seed and the land originally given to Israel (Genesis 12:2-3; 15:18-21). Their possession was meant to stretch from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18), and from Mount Hor to Hazar-enan (Numbers 34:7-9). And what is so significant about this promise? Genesis 13:14-15 provides the answer for us:

The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now raise your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward, and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.”

God’s agreement with Abraham and his descendants is to be an “everlasting covenant,” deeding to him “all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8). This establishes not only a perpetual covenant but also an unconditional one as well. God Himself guarantees this possession for Abraham’s covenant descendants, which is Israel.

We know from the historical record that Israel has never possessed these biblical boundaries, not under Joshua’s initial conquest or even during Solomon’s expansive reign (1 Kings 4:21-24). Therefore, if they’ve never possessed these land boundaries, then it must be still a future prophetic reality, finding its fulfillment in a future kingdom.

Third, God promised that the Messiah would reign on David’s throne forever, and of His government there will be no end (2 Samuel 7:10-17; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Chronicles 6:14-17; Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1). Finally, the promise of the new covenant (for Israel to seek God from her heart) will also see its fulfillment in the millennial kingdom (Psalm 72:8; Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:35-40; Ezekiel 11:18-20; 16:60-63; 37:24-28; Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 9:10; Romans 11:25-29).

In Matthew 4:8-10 and Luke 4:5-8, Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, including the glory that comes with them. Christ refused this offer because He knew it was foolish to worship anyone other than the true God (Deuteronomy 6:13-15). But He also knew that one day the kingdoms of this world would legitimately belong to Him (Revelation 11:15).

The millennial kingdom will also see God rewarding His people from all ages for their faithful service to Him. It is during this kingdom establishment when creation will be restored as well. 

Excerpted from The Prophecy Pros’ Illustrated Guide to Tough Questions About the End Times by Jeff Kinley and Todd Hampson

What is the judgment seat of Christ?

Your belief determines where you will spend eternity. Your behavior determines how you will spend eternity.

The day is coming when every believer in Jesus Christ will stand before the Lord, and we’ll discover what was pretend and what was pleasing to Him. The Bible calls this future event the judgment or bema seat of Christ.

Only believers in Jesus Christ will be at the judgment seat. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Every believer will stand alone and individually before the Lord. “We will all stand before the judgment seat of God…each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10, 12).

The purpose of the judgment seat of Christ is not to determine whether people will enter heaven or hell, or to mete out punishment for sin. A person’s eternal destiny was already decided when he or she believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin. The issue of where we will spend eternity won’t even come up. God’s Word clearly states that His children will never be judged for their sins. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). Paul wrote, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). In Scripture our sins are pictured as pardoned, forgiven, blotted out, and cast into the depths of the sea.

To put it another way, the purpose of the judgment seat is not to condemn us but to commend us—not to punish us but to praise us.

Jesus will examine and evaluate our faithfulness in light of the abilities and opportunities God has given us. 

Excerpted from Heavenly Rewards by Mark Hitchcock.