A Pre-Tribulation Rapture?


For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  - Matthew 24:27




Testimony of 1 Corinthians 15: 'Blink of an eye' not evidence of a pre-tribulation rapture

by Bill Wong




Many believers in a pre-tribulation rapture use the twinkling of an eye in 1 Corinthians 15 to say it describes the sudden and instantaneous being “taken away”:


1 Corinthians 15:

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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 

53   For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54   So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."      (NKJV)



However, an objective look shows that this verse is specifically talking about the resurrection of the dead – not our disappearance or being taken away in a pre-tribulation rapture.




And most importantly, this happens at the last trumpet. This means four things:



1)   Since it happens at the last trumpet, this means the gathering of the Lord Jesus’ elect happens

       at the end of tribulation.  It occurs after the saints undergo tribulation and death as seen in Matthew

       24:29-31 (note verse 29 which says after the tribulation of those days):


Matthew 24:

29   "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.

30   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.

31   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.   (NKJV)



2)   As we just read above in Matthew 24, we must note that Messiah clearly says there is no “secret” pre-tribulation rapture and it is LOUD and seen by all.  Messiah also says that when we see these things happen in the tribulation, we should be hopeful, because our redemption is near.  This again means believers will undergo tribulation:


Luke 21:

25   "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;

26   men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

27   Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28   Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."   (NKJV)



3)  Verse 54 mentions that “death is swallowed up in victory”.  When does this happen?  The apostle Paul is not referring to a pre-tribulation rapture, but he is actually referring to after the tribulation.  How do we know this?  It is because the apostle Paul is quoting from Isaiah.  In Isaiah 25 God tells us that He will swallow up death forever:


Isaiah 25:

1    O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things;

        Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

2    For You have made a city a ruin, A fortified city a ruin, A palace of foreigners to be a city no more; It will never be rebuilt.

3    Therefore the strong people will glorify You; The city of the terrible nations will fear You.

4    For You have been a strength to the poor, A strength to the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, A shade from the heat;

         For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

5    You will reduce the noise of aliens, As heat in a dry place; As heat in the shadow of a cloud,

         The song of the terrible ones will be diminished.

6    And in this mountain The LORD of hosts will make for all people A feast of choice pieces, A feast of wines on the lees,

         Of fat things full of marrow, Of well-refined wines on the lees.

7    And He will destroy on this mountain The surface of the covering cast over all people, And the veil that is spread over all nations.

8    He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;

         The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.

9    And it will be said in that day: " Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us.

         This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."

10   For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest, And Moab shall be trampled down under Him,

         As straw is trampled down for the refuse heap.

11   And He will spread out His hands in their midst As a swimmer reaches out to swim,

         And He will bring down their pride Together with the trickery of their hands.

12   The fortress of the high fort of your walls He will bring down, lay low, And bring to the ground, down to the dust.    (NKJV)



We can plainly see that death being swallowed up only occurs when the Lord Jesus returns to destroy the enemies of God – and this happens after the tribulation. There is no doubt that “the blink of an eye” and “the last trump” happens after the tribulation and not before it.  Paul is referring to a post-tribulation rapture. 



4)   Another thing about 1 Corinthians 15 that is often overlooked is the actual context.  The apostle Paul is talking about the resurrection, because he was responding to people who did not believe Christ was raised from the dead:


1 Corinthians 15:

12   Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13   But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.

14   And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

15   Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up --- if in fact the dead do not rise.

16   For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.

17   And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

18   Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

19   If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

20   But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

21   For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.

22   For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.    (NKJV)

In other words, while 1 Corinthians 15 can be used for the transformation of those who are still alive, the main context and focus is on the resurrection of the dead.  The apostle Paul is addressing an audience who had the belief that there is no resurrection from the dead and he is specifically talking about those who are dead that will be changed/resurrected at the blink of an eye, from corruption to incorruption. 

Also, when are people who are still alive changed?  We have already seen it is at the last trumpet, but it also only happens after the dead are raised first as we see in 1 Thessalonians 4:

1 Thessalonians 4:

13   But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

14   For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15   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.

16   For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

17   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.

18   Therefore comfort one another with these words.   (NKJV)

And as we just discussed in Item #3 above, death is swallowed up in victory only at the end, after any tribulation.  So therefore if any transformation at the blink of an eye of believers who are still alive only happens after the dead are raised first, and the dead are raised only after the tribulation – then this means any blink of an eye change, whether of the dead or who is alive, occurs only after tribulation.  




The Bible truth declares:


At the last trumpet which will happen after the end of the Great Tribulation, the Lord Jesus will return from the sky in great power and glory, and then in the blink of an eye, those who are asleep will be raised and meet the Lord in the sky.



There is no pre-tribulation rapture.

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