To understand the true meaning of tribulations, let us look at the definition of the word itself. The Greek word thlipsis being translated tribulation means a pressing together, a squeezing, a pinching; used figuratively for distress, tribulation, affliction, trouble and persecution. The word is used strictly in connection with the hardships which Christ’s followers suffer. The following are scriptures that support this statement.
17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, whentribulation or persecutionarisesfor the word's sake, immediately they stumble(tribulation will weed out those not rooted in truth).
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the worldyou will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance(it only made them better);
12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer (nothing can stop a child of God);
14 And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (ones that were patient and persevered, grew and matured and metamorphosed into a new people).
Often the church confuses the tribulation caused by Satan in his battle against righteousness with the wrath of God that will eventually come down on those walking in sin. We see in scripture the true object of God’s wrath in Romans 1:18 and again in Ephesians 5:6.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
In other words, the wrath of God will come to those who know the truth, but walk in disobedience against it.
5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God(oops, once saved always saved, don't think so).
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these thingsthe wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience. (maybe mankind should seek God's will and begin to walk it!)
2 Timothy 2:3instructs those experiencing tribulation from the enemy.
3 You therefore mustendure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ(nothing about exiting to heaven).
Why are so many deceived? Genesis 6 gives us a clue. We see how the angels or sons of God lusted after the daughters of men and took for themselves wives of their choice. They forsook their abode in Heaven and made earth their new home. They were created to be citizens of heaven! In Jude, the sixth verse we read of the punishment these angels received.
6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
Now let us reason together, if God was angry that the angels gave up their home in heaven to live on earth, what about teachings that encourage men to give up their home on earth to be in heaven?
Psalm 115:16tells us plainly,
16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD's; But the earth He has given to the children of men(we were created to live only on earth).
In fact, scripture reveals the earth was created to be inhabited and that God gave it to the children of men to possess and have dominion over.
18 For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other. (This will never change as God's word is sure. God therefore has a plan for mankind’s total restoration right hereonearth!)
Remember, that Jesus taught from the mountain saying, 'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.' (Matthew 5:5) In Isaiah 49:8 we see clearly that God plans to restore the earth and in fact all that is on it. He will not remove man, but He will preserve them!
8 Thus says the LORD: "In an acceptable time I have heard You And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You As a covenant to the people(talking to the end time warrior, the new species), To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;
To further correct our thinking, the world's religious community has also falsely taught the earth will be destroyed. We have already read scripture stating God wishes to restore the earth however, and Revelation goes on to tell us that God will go so far as to destroy those who destroy the earth.
18 The nations were angry(they didn't want to hear the end time knowledge or to change), and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged (time up for man and angels), And that You should rewardYour servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”
The earth will be rid of those that pollute it, and the world and the systems of man will pass away, but the land itself will be restored not destroyed!
So, the confusion does not stop with just wanting to escape trials and tribulations etc., it gets worse! In order for man to justify his beliefs, he constantly adjusts his understanding of scripture or the interpretation of scripture to fit his doctrine. For example, it is not enough that they believe and teach this rapture theory, but they have added to it. It now stands that there are three different theories on the one subject, pre-tribulation rapture, mid-tribulation and a post-tribulation rapture. Some philosophers teach that God will not allow His people to undergo any hardship, and that the church will be removed before the tribulation begins. This is what they call Pre-tribulation. Remember what we read in John 16:33?
And look at 2 Timothy 3:22!
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Others preach the message that the church will undergo some tribulation but before the big stuff starts God will remove His church (Mid-tribulation). Let us turn to Revelation 7:14
Revelation 7:14shows us man will go through them.
14 And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Others teach that the church will experience all of the tribulation and then will be taken to heaven.
Let us readRevelation 19:19-21for the truth on the matter.
19 And I saw the beast(Satan through man's governments), the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army(Jesus, the Word).
20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet(the voice of the hierarchy of the world's churches) who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the rest were killed with the sword(those that did not develop a love for truth, the Word disqualified) which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Man needs to hear truth, learn from end time knowledge to be saved from this fate!)
Notice those in Revelation 20:4 that come through the tribulation will rule with Christ, be glorified or completely restored as revealed in verses 5 and 6 and as we see in verse 9, all this takes place on earth!
Revelation 20:4-6, 9
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them(these are alive and well after the tribulation period). ThenI saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands(those in paradise united with those that come out of the tribulations). And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished(the people trained during the thousand years will be tested and tried at its end).This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection(those who resurrected through Christ to become a new species along with the righteous in Paradise). Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Where did they reign? See verse 9.)
9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. (New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:2) And fire came down from Godout of heaven and devoured them.
So we see from scripture, we as God’s end time army are going nowhere. Not ever! Heaven will fight through the righteous and hell will fight through those that oppose truth and walk in opposition to it. God’s people will remain on earth to manifest the body of Christ and will come against and defeat those manifesting Satan's body, the Antichrist. By the way...We win! It is already predestined!
So as we can see, this false doctrine, escape through rapture, and every version of it, is strictly theory. There is no scriptural evidence to support it. Taken from the American Heritage Dictionary, the definition for theory is:
Theory (thir’e) n. 1. Systematically organized knowledgeapplicable in a relatively wide variety of circumstances; especially a system of assumptions,acceptedprinciples, and rules of proceduredevised to analyze, predict, or otherwise explain the nature or behavior of a specified set of phenomena. 2. Abstract reasoning; speculations. 3. a hypothesis or supposition.
These definitions do not at all sound like TRUTH do they? Truth does not change with every shift of wind! The end time knowledge of God if eaten will nourish and mature God's people to the full stature of the body of Christ. They will no longer be subject to Satan's lies as seen in Ephesians 4:13-14.
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man(become one with Him), to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ(His body);
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine(like a theory from the 1800's), by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness(the Serpent, the dragon, Satan) of deceitful plotting(mankind are but puppets of the enemy),
This theory therefore sounds more like the voice of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil to the discerning ear. In other words, this is man's intellect again based on the world's knowledge chosen by Adam and Eve without any input from the Word of God.
Now let us investigate what the word rapture actually means. First of all, it cannot be found anywhere in scripture. It is neither a Hebrew nor a Greek word. Looking at the definition of this word in the American Heritage Dictionary, we see that, rather than being something that takes place, an occurrence such as in being transported to Heaven, it is an emotion.
Rapture (rap ´cher) n. 1. The state of being transported by a lofty emotion; ecstasy. 2. Often plural. An expression of ecstatic feeling. 3. Rare form. The transporting of a person from one place to another. (This last meaning is a latter definition and put in to accommodate the church.)
Based on emotion, it comes from the Latin word raptura, which directly translated is ecstasy! This is very important to understand, because the word ecstasy actually means a state of being overpowered by an emotion. It is what man experiences when they are controlled by their emotions. This is not exercising the fruit of the Spirit, which calls for self control. (Galatians 5:23) It is the direct opposite of how we are commanded to walk.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
We should not walk by what we feel, but rather by what we know from God's Word. Now let us turn to the scripture that seems to throw everyone off. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
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.
This misinterpreted portion of scripture is used to mistakenly support the rapture theory. In dissecting it through the original Greek language using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance however, the proper way to read this scripture would read this way: "The Lord Himself through the office of Chief messenger who speaks for God will sing a song of encouragement and command those who are dead to self to arise as a banner for the nations to see, that the nations would gather together to the Mountain of God in order to be changed from an undesirable condition as they experience the Feast of Tabernacles."
As we look in the mirror of the Old Testament we see this interpretation is now in harmony with the rest of scripture as it should be. See Isaiah 5:26-28, Zechariah 9:16. Let us go ahead and read from Zechariah to get the idea.
16 The LORD their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people. For they(God's end time new species) shall be like the jewels of a crown, lifted like a banner over His land-- (God's people are His land)
These are His chosen who have been found faithful, laid their works down to do His and have separated themselves from Satan's world. He will build His Kingdom, establish His universal law, bring all things back to its original order and harmony through them. They are not going anywhere!
Mankind will be here on Judgment Day. Those that love truth will be prepared and unafraid. The complacent that think they will not be involved will sadly be caught unaware and much afraid.
Luke 21:36warns us,
36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that willcome to pass(the Lord loves and protects His loyal ones), and to stand before the Son of Man(confident and happy the end is finally here)."
I John 4:17
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are weinthisworld.
In closing, the teaching that says some will rapture and others will stay to fight the final battle is wrong also! God is not a respecter of persons. Either we all stay or we all go. The fact is, God's people will be found like Him, on the earth, still in Satan's world trying to reach out to humanity, not wishing anyone to perish. Again, we are not going anywhere people of God, we are all staying!!