I used to believe many years ago in a pre-trib rapture but a brother in Christ convinced me otherwise. But, yesterday, for the first time, I did a real study on 1-2 Thes., Revelation 19, and Matthew 24:31-34 [in connection with the rapture]. I can tell you that after asking the Lord to open my eyes and studying those passages I came to the conclusion that the Bible clearly promises to the believers, safety from the wrath to come. With God’s help I got an answer to these passages that seem to say that we do go through the Great Tribulation:
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples 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 He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
If you guys noticed that I have never written a post about the Rapture because I wasn’t sure. I’m sure now with Scripture to back it up.
[A Catholic said]“You Protestants have some big problems if you cannot see the difference between Veneration and Adoration. Your understanding is so one dimensional. Because you have a limited view of Divine Revelation; only accepting scripture without tradition. Take a look at your Bible which says, ” Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.”(2 Thes. 3:6) and also, ” So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”(2 Thes 2:15, RSV)”
The word tradition in those two passages has nothing to do with Catholic theology, that is number 1. Remember, context ascribes to a word the meaning of it which is the key to understanding Holy Scripture.
Let us look at 2 Thes. 3:6, in that passage the keyword is: idle…Paul is saying not to be idle and remember the tradition spoken about that issue. Paul is not referring to a doctrine that is passed down verbally that only the Catholics know but, their traditions has to do with the message of idleness that was already written down which are the Scriptures. In 2 Thes. 3:6, he was referring to this passage:
1 Timothy 5:13
13 At the same time, they also learn to be idle, going from house to house; they are not only idle, but are also gossips† and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t say.
Now, let’s look at 2 Thes. 2:15
2 Thessalonians 2:15
15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote.
The question to ask is, [what traditions do they, the church must hold to?] Another question to ask, for understanding this passage, [do we know what the Apostles taught?]
The first answer to the question would be that the traditions are the same message as that of Scripture and the second question, the answer is, yes, we do know what they taught. Below are 5 points that clarify what the Apostle Paul meant by traditions.
1. We stand firm in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 2. The Apostles taught [verbally, traditions or written down, our Bible which is the same message] pertaining to Jesus Christ. 3. Jesus said in Matthew 7 [referring to standing firm] that to hear His Word and to do it, a person has built his house [his life] on the rock [saving faith in Jesus Christ] and nothing will bring him down [destroy his faith in Jesus] 4. Paul with the rest of the Apostles will never contradict with the traditions they taught and what has been written down which are the Scriptures. 5. The traditions and what has been penned down [our Bible] are both and the same, the Scriptures since there is only one author, the Holy Spirit and one message about Jesus Christ.
What are the traditions? Basically, some places that the 12 Apostles and Paul visited, they were taught the Word of God but, later some got letters containing the Word of God that was taught to them and some did not. So, both the word tradition and the Word of God were the same message.
A place in hell called: The bottomless pit, where the dead [those who rejected the Living God] and the demons are kept in chains.
1. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven holding the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
It seems that this heavenly angel was in charge of keeping the demons locked up who had sinned in the time of Noah.
2 Peter 2:4-5
4 For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but cast them into hell and delivered them in chains of utter darkness to be kept for judgment; 5 and if he didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when he brought the flood on the world of the ungodly
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
The dragon who is Satan was seized by the angel in charge of the abyss and locked him up with chains. For this angel to defeat the devil, reveals that he is a mighty angel of high ranking.
Thousand yearsrefer to the earthly reign of Christ with His saints.
3 He threw him into the abyss, closed it, and put a seal on it so that he would no longer deceive the nations until the thousand years were completed. After that, he must be released for a short time.
Put a seal on itshows that the devil’s sentence was sure to be completed with no one to open and release him until the 1000 years was over.
Would no longer deceive the nations. No longer would the world have to deal with Satan’s deceptions and schemes but would be free from his devices so that the world may enjoy Jesus’ righteousness on the earth with peace.
4 Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Then I saw thrones means that the saints will have a role in the millennial reign of Christ. They will judge the nations all over the world.
The saints who refused to accept the mark of the beast in the Great Tribulation and were killed, seems to be given a special position with Christ in His millennial reign.
If a person receives the mark of the beast on their hand or forehead, they will not reign with Christ but will be cast into the Lake of Fire [Revelation 14].
5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.
The rest of the dead did not come to life refers to the lost, those who rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Only the saints will participate in the first resurrection and reign with Christ.