Are There Any Proof Texts for the Rapture?

Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.

Our posttribulational friends who espouse a rapture after the tribulation sometimes challenge us because of our pretribulational stand in our prophecy films (“A Thief in the Night,” etc.). They observe that there is not a single Bible verse that states that Christ will return for his church before the tribulation.

In fact, we can cite a clear verse which, taken in its normal historical-grammatical sense, forcefully teaches the pretribulational rapture.

That verse is Revelation 3:10: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

Christ’s promise to the church at Philadelphia (and to any subsequent church, Revelation 3:11) is that the believers will experience protection from, not preservation during, the period of tribulation.

The phrase “keep from” is used only one other time in the New Testament, in John 17:15, where our Lord prays that believers be kept from the evil one. This He does by transferring us into the kingdom of His beloved Son. (Colossians 1:13).

The preposition “from” in the phrase “from the hour of temptation” favors the pretribulational rapture. “From” is used more than 800 times in the New Testament and means “from out of, out from, forth from.”

The meaning here is that the church will be taken “out from” the very “hour of temptation.” The only way one can be kept from the very time of the tribulation is by prior removal from it, by a transfer from earth to heaven.

Posttribulationists suggest that Christians will be protected in or during the experience of suffering, like Israel among the ten plagues of Egypt. However, neither preposition is used, but a clear term meaning out of. Furthermore, believers in the tribulation will not be exempt from judgment or death (Rev. 6:9-11; 7:9-14, 14:1-3, etc.). As Charles Ryrie observes: If the church will not be raptured before the hour begins, then the promise will not be fulfilled because many saints simply will not be preserved in the tribulation but will suffer and die along with unsaved people (Revelation, 1996, p. 34).

The pretribulational rapture is based on the solemn promise of the One who is the way, the truth and the life.

© Manfred E Kober

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