Summary: Does the Bible teach that Jesus will rapture His people before the Tribulation? This is a series of Studies on the question, "Will the rapture be before the Tribulation or before the Wrath of God?
"PRE-TRIB. OR PRE-WRATH?"
O.K. LET’S TALK A LITTLE GRAMMAR!
Let me pause and make a point which will help us to understand the 24th chapter of
Matthew. This may not be a great time for a grammar lesson but there is a grammar rule
that needs to be discussed before we study Matthew 24. It has to do with "pronouns". I
would like to discuss the "antecedent" to pronouns. You say, "That doesn’t sound like one
of the more interesting subjects to discuss". You are right but in the quest for truth it is
important to consider many different concepts.
In the "Plain English Handbook". page 22, under "PRONOUNS", there is this rule
given regarding "antecedents to pronouns" and I quote, "The antecedents of a pronoun is the word for which the pronoun stands". It then gives this example - "Mary brought a
book". It is her book. "Mary" is the antecedent of the pronoun "her" So, an antecedent is
the word that goes before the pronoun that tells you who or what it is. In fact, the
Webster’s Dictionary gives the etymology of the word "Antecedent" as meaning "going
before". The Plain English Handbook goes on to say, "An antecedent of a pronoun agrees
with its substantive in gender, person, and number (same page)." Before someone says,
"Ah yes! but the New Testament was written in Greek not English." The same rule applies to Greek grammar and is even more ridged (See Beginner’s Grammar of the Greek New Testament by Davis, page 67.)
Now, I know that someone is asking, "What does all this have to do with Matthew Chapter 24?" In Matthew 24, Jesus has come to the end of His earthly ministry. He is with His disciples in the city of Jerusalem. They have just come to the area of the temple and Jesus is sitting on the Mount of Olives. The disciples come to Him privately (24:3). Jesus tells them that the temple (at which they are looking) shall be destroyed and there shall not one stone be left upon another (24:2).
It is this preacher’s understanding that those disciples formed the first New Testament church which was personally called out and organized by the Lord Jesus. It was to this same group He gave the Lord’s Supper. It was to this same group He gave the great commission. So this group of disciples were the first century church to whom the promise was given, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of this age. (Matt. 24:20)."
Now, let’s look again at Matthew 24. "As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the
disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when shall these things
be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?
Now, this is the question for which we have been waiting, or, should I say, it’s the answer
to the question that we desire.
Jesus takes the entire 24th and 25th chapters of Matthew to answer these questions.
I have searched these chapters very carefully and I can find nothing that even hints at a
pre-tribulation rapture. I do find where Jesus said that the rapture will take place after the
tribulation (24:29-31). I must say, if there is a pre-tribulation rapture I believe that Jesus should have at least mentioned it after the disciples had so directly asked Him the question.
Please notice what Jesus did say, ’’And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take
heed that no man deceive YOU" (V-4). Please tell me what the antecedent of the pronoun, "YOU" (the one capitalized in the Scripture just quoted)? I understand it to be the disciples or the church. If the church is not going to be here why should Jesus worry about them being deceived? In verse 6, what is the antecedent to the word "YE"? Why should Jesus worry about them being troubled if they are not going to be here? In verse 9, what is the antecedent to the word "YOU"? Why should our Lord warn them about being
delivered up to be afflicted and killed and hated if they are not going to be here? In verse
15, what is the antecedent to the word "YE"? This is the middle of the tribulation. Why
should the church be warned about the abomination of desolation if they will be gone? In
verse 23, what is the antecedent to the word "YOU"? In verse 25, what is the antecedent
to the word "YOU"? It does seem strange to me that Jesus is telling the church "when YE shall see all these thing, know that it is near, even at the door" (v-33). If the church is not going to be there, why is He warning them to watch for these signs? Now, if you are going to say that this is the nation of Israel, please show me where Jesus ever changed the