Summary: I have studied all views with prayer, common sense and an open mind. The only one that makes any sense taking into account the whole context of Scripture is the Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church.
I have studied all views with prayer, common sense and an open mind. The only one that makes any sense taking into account the whole context of Scripture is the Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church; in which Christ calls to Him His true believers before the wrath of God is poured out upon the earth during the 7 year tribulation. Today, I will give my reasons as to why I believe this. Think about this; if there is a Rapture, would that not make believers look forward to His coming, to be ready, to be obedient, serving and working to show themselves as good and faithful servants? If there is no Rapture then we would know exactly when He would return in His second coming and that could cause people to live how they wanted until the signs of the tribulation came. Why would Jesus say we do not know the time or the hour and that He will come as a thief in the night and we must be ready! Do you see my point? Let me tell you about early church leaders who believed in the pre-tribulation Rapture of the saints who were constantly awaiting the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Please do not believe the lie that says that the Rapture of the Church is a new doctrine.
Irenaeus (130 A.D. – 202 AD) a bishop and disciple of Polycarp (the first of the Apostle John’s disciples) said of the Rapture in his work “Against Heresies”, “Those nations however, who did not of themselves raise up their eyes unto heaven, nor returned thanks to their Maker, nor wished to behold the light of truth, but who were like blind mice concealed in the depths of ignorance...And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.” Cyprian (200 AD – 258 AD) a bishop of the church in Carthage said in his work “Treatises of Cyprian”, “We who see that terrible things have begun, and know that still more terrible things are imminent, may regard it as the greatest advantage to depart from it as quickly as possible. Do you not give God thanks, do you not congratulate yourself, that by an early departure you are taken away, and delivered from the shipwrecks and disasters that are imminent? Let us greet the day which assigns each of us to his own home, which snatches us hence, and sets us free from the snares of the world and restores us to paradise and the kingdom.”
Ephraim (306 AD – 373 AD) bishop of Nisibis (Turkey). He said in his sermon "On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World.”, “Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that He may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms the entire world? ... For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins. And so, others most dear to me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of the world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold sickles in their hands, awaiting the empire of the Lord.” Ephraim also taught in this same sermon that the war of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39 would precede the tribulation and he taught the imminent return of Jesus. There were other early church writings that indicate that they believed that Jesus would be returning for HIS Church before the end time tribulation judgments on earth. Many scriptures indicate likewise.
Is the pretribulation Rapture a secret? No. The Rapture will not be secret. But it will happen when no one knows. In fact the world has been informed that it will happen through many popular websites, TV programs, movies, and writings like the "Left Behind" series. The Rapture event itself will be known to all who will witness the missing people. The "New Age" pagans have even prepared explanations for the Rapture in some of their writings. Listen, “New Agers teach that millions of people can't adapt to a new age. These people are accused of preventing others from "harmonizing" themselves with the Earth Mother. So according to New Age believers these backward fundamentalists will be "beamed up" off of the planet to waiting space ships. There they will be re-educated into cooperative and higher states of consciousness. Those New Agers left behind on our planet will help the others to cope with the coming earth changes. In other words, the New Agers left behind are superior to those who must be forcibly removed from the planet.” I am not making this up.