TWO FUTURE RAPTURESCol. 2:8 Beware lest any MAN spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
PRIVATE INTERPRETATIONSpeaking of the rapture of the church, Brother Rosenthal wrote:
"4. The apostle Paul gives the timing for the Rapture of the church. Writing to the Corinthians he said, "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump" (1 Cor. 15:51-52). In context, Paul is not simply speaking about resurrection but of the believer's future glorified body and the fact that one generation will escape physical death by rapture. That Rapture will occur at the last trump. The last trump is the final outpouring of God's wrath.
A cursory examination of the book of Revelation will indicate that all seven trumpets are contained in the seventh seal, and the seven bowls are contained in the seventh trumpet. Therefore, the trumpets and bowls are contained in the seventh seal. They are a comprehensive whole, the final wrath of Godthe last trump" (pp. 131-132).
This is stretching things a bit, don't you think? Please take note that "trump" is the sound made by a trumpet and not the trumpet itself. The word "trump" is only found two times in the Bible: in 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:16, both being references to the rapture of the church. What this has to do with the seven trumpets of Revelation is still a mystery to me, but Brother Rosenthal uses the argument above to place the timing for the rapture of the church. He comes up with the private interpretation that since "the trumpets and bowls [He means "vials". There aren't any "bowls" to be found in Revelation.] are contained in the seventh seal. They are a comprehensive whole, the final wrath of God the last trump".
2 Pet. 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
If Brother Rosenthal can pull out that kind of private interpretation, then what is so strange about a Bible believer connecting the "trumpet" that "trumps" (1Cor. 15:52; 1Thess. 4:16 17) to call the church out to meet the Lord in the air with the "trumpet" that talks with John the apostle and calls him to heaven to view the events of the "great tribulation"? Brother Rosenthal makes light of the "pre-tribulationist" who refers to similitudes and types, even though that is one of the ways God teaches his people!
Hosea 12:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.
THE DELIVERER(S)One of the most obvious reasons that we know there are two future raptures is because of the different deliverers God will send for the two groups.
We have already looked at 1 Thess. 4:16, but lets's look at it specifically to find WHO is coming for the Church.
1 Thess. 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
I have highlighted the words, "the Lord HIMSELF shall descend from heaven" There is also no doubt that this is a reference to the Church, for the Church is the body of Christ and the only ones "in Christ" at this present time.
What a blessing! THE LORD HIMSELF is coming to catch us away! This is why the apostle Paul wrote that we are:
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ
Not only is the Lord coming for the church, but he is not coming himself to get the tribulation saints, but will send his angels.
Matt. 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
And what will the tribulation saints SEE before they are delivered by the angels?
Mark 13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And THEN shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
May I remind you that when "the Lord himself" comes for the church that he will come "as a thief in the night" (1Thess. 4-5)? These are two different raptures, and don't let any MAN teach you differently!
STRONG DELUSIONAgain, Brother Rosenthal writes:
"Deliverance of the righteous immediately precedes judgment of the wicked. To postulate a period of time between rapture (deliverance) and wrath (judgment) is to contradict the Scriptures" (p. 140).
Of course, we do not postulate anything. What greater illustration of God's wrath could be demonstrated than the "strong delusion" God will send immediately after the rapture of the church (2Thess. 2:7), when "that Wicked be revealed" (2Thess. 2:8), "That they ALL might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2Thess. 2:12)? God is not going to kill these men, He is going to send them strong delusion and a deceiver to deceive them. The Lord will fix their darkened hearts so that they CANNOT REPENT! These men will experience the terrible judgments and the wrath of God upon the earth, but they will not repent because God will have rendered them reprobate and incapable of repentance! Those who have heard the gospel and have rejected Jesus Christ will suffer not only the wrath of God's delusion, but some of them will go through His terrible judgment robbed by the Lord of the ability to repent.
After being tormented for five months by supernatural locusts to the point of wanting to die but not being able to die (Rev. 9:1-10), and after seeing a third of the men on earth killed by supernatural horsemen (Rev. 9:16-19) we read:
Rev. 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
God has rendered these men incapable of repentance! God sent them a "strong delusion" at the same point in time as the rapture of the church! They not only suffer the wrath of God in a physical judgment, but they have been deluded by God with a spiritual judgment since the very beginning of the "great tribulation".
Is not this certainly a manifestation of the WRATH OF GOD? Does Brother Rosenthal not believe God's total and absolute and final deception of a man to destruction to be the administration of his wrath, and further, does he not know that the WRATH OF GOD abides upon all lost people at this very moment?
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
A PREPOSTEROUS INTERPRETATIONOn page 142 of his book, Brother Rosenthal makes the statement:
"The first seal depicts a white horse and rider (Rev. 6:1-2). Dispensational pretribulationists have consistently and almost universally interpreted the emergence of this horse and rider to represent the Antichrist who will at first conquer by deception (Matt. 24:5; Rev. 6:2). If the second, third, and fourth seals are attributed to God, so also must the first one be. If the seals are God's wrath, then God alone must take direct responsibility for a counterfeit religious system and the emergence of the Antichrist, for that is precisely what the first seal depicts.
To attribute the emergence of the antichrist to God is obviously preposterous" (p. 142).
When I first read this I could hardly believe the words! Have no doubt about it, GOD WILL "TAKE DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY FOR A COUNTERFEIT RELIGIOUS SYSTEM AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE ANTICHRIST"! This statement is NOT preposterous to a Bible believer! May we briefly give a few reasons why?
DECEPTION OF GODGod told Ezekiel very plainly that when men set up idols in their heart and turn away from God that he will deceive the false prophet as a judgment against them:
Ezek. 14:6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;
Did you see that? God said, "I the LORD have deceived that prophet" (Ezek. 14:9)! If God deceived the false prophet to Israel, is it any wonder that God will deceive the final and greatest false prophet the world will ever see? The antichrist is part of THE JUDGMENT OF GOD upon a wicked and Christ rejecting world. Observe carefully the following verses:
Ps. 9:16 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Ps. 17:13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:
They would not listen to God, therefore God will send them one of their own kind using their own devises to destroy them!
Prov. 1:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
The classic scriptural example of this is found in 1Kings chapter 22. The scene is where Ahab king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were discussing whether they should go up to Ramoth in Gilead to take it out of the hand of the king of Syria. Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to enquire of the Lord about the matter. So Ahab gathered about four hundred prophets together to enquire of them who with one voice affirmed to the king, "Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king" (1 Kings 22:6).
1 Kgs. 22:7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him?
8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
Ahab hated God's prophet who spoke God's word faithfully because what he preached was obviously against this wicked Ahab!
1 Kings 22:9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah
15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?
17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
Ahab hated Micaiah because his preaching went against Ahab's will! That is exactly why sinners hate God's preachers today. God is against their wilful sin!
1 Kings 22:19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.
The LORD put a lying spirit in the mouth of four hundred false prophets so that Ahab would go up to the battle at Ramoth in Gilead and be killed. Is it then "PREPOSTEROUS" that God would send the devil to incarnate the antichrist so that those who reject his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ would be deceived and damned? Certainly not!
Dan. 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
The most base of all men who will ever walk the face of the earth is the antichrist, and there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that God is going to give the kingdom of men to him during the great tribulation to accomplish His purposes. Please read the following additional six examples of the LORD's strange work of deception:
1. It was the LORD who even wrote his Bible to deceive and stumble those who despise it that they might be destroyed!
Isa. 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
Prov. 13:13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
2. It was the LORD who sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem so that they would destroy each other:
Judg. 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:
24 That the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren.
3. It was the LORD who caused Absalom and all his men to reject the good counsel of Ahithophel:
2 Sam. 17:14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.
4. It was the LORD who hardened the hearts of the nations occupying the promised land that they might be destroyed:
Josh. 11:19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle.
20 For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.
5. It will be the LORD who will put into the hearts of the ten kings the desire to destroy the whore:
Rev. 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
6. God hardened Pharaoh's heart in order to accomplish his purposes:
Exod. 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.
On the cover of Brother Rosenthal's book are found the words, "A new understanding of the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the Second Coming". There's nothing new about Brother Rosenthal's philosophy. The Charismatics have been tossing people about on the dark waters of this same exact issue for years! Thank God that the Bible believer can be solidly anchored to the rock of scripture, and no kind of heretical storm can move him!
STRAINING REASONBrother Rosenthal highlights the following statement in his book:
"It strains reason to think that once God begins His Day of the Lord wrath, the Antichrist is able to assume control of the world" (p. 143).
Throughout his book, Brother Rosenthal uses the phrase "Day of the Lord wrath," which is NOT the Bible phrase, "the day of the Lord's wrath" (Zeph. 1:18), neither is it a grammatically correct phrase. It means NOTHING scripturally! As we have shown, "the day of the Lord" DOES include both judgment and blessing. I believe what Brother Rosenthal is saying here is that it strains HIS reason to think that the antichrist can assume control of the world within "the day of the Lord". This is not at all unreasonable when we understand that the antichrist is serving God's purposes during the tribulation!
Ps. 17:13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword
The antichrist is called, "that Wicked" (2 Thess. 2:8). Therefore, the antichrist is God's sword to bring judgment upon a God forsaking world during the great tribulation! Now THAT may strain Brother Rosenthal's reason, but that is what the Bible says! We Bible believers find "rest" and "refreshing" from the word of the Lord (Isa. 28:12)!
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Now, let's zero in on these two future raptures and prove by the scriptures that these things are so (Acts 18:28).
THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCHProv. 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
In Rev. 4, John the apostle is caught up into heaven to be shown the "things which must be hereafter" (Rev. 4:1). John was to be shown the things which would come to pass in the FUTURE, not the things as they were in heaven in John's lifetime. John first sees the twenty four elders sitting around the throne of God, and he sees the four beasts in the midst and round about the throne. THEN, in Rev. 5, which is obviously a continuation in time of what John saw, John sees the seven sealed book in the right hand of him that sat on the throne (Rev. 5:1). THEN, John saw the Lamb of God take the book out of the hand of him that was sitting on the throne after being told by one of the elders, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" (Rev. 5:5). Now, let's let the scripture continue to describe what John saw.
Rev. 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Who are "they" who sing a "new song" and number over a hundred million? Why, there is no doubt about it: this is the "church of God" seen by John already in heaven BEFORE the first seal was opened by the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 6:1).
A MISTAKEN IDENTIFICATIONBrother Rosenthal identifies, "they which came out of great tribulation" (Rev. 7:14) as the church. The "church" is in heaven BEFORE the first seal is opened. These are in fact the "tribulation saints":
"Fourth, in Revelation 6 John immediately recognizes the martyrs as those who "were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held" (v. 9). In Revelation 7 it is clear that John does not recognize who this great multitude is. To the question directly proposed to John, "Who are these?" (v. 13), he gives this response: "Sir, thou knowest" (v. 14), a clear admission that he did not recognize them.
If this great multitudewhich suddenly appears in heaven, which no man can number, and which has universal representationare not martyrs, who are they"
This great multitude, innumerable, universal, and suddenly appearing in heaven with white robes (purified) and palm branches (triumphant), is the raptured church" (pp. 184-185).
HERESY! Brother Rosenthal teaches that the multitude seen in Rev. 7:9-14 is "the raptured church"! The reader should kindly take note that these "which came out of great tribulation" are seen AFTER the sixth seal (Rev. 6:17) and BEFORE the seventh seal (Rev. 8:1)! Brother Rosenthal uses this as an argument in his book for the PRE WRATH RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. However we have already seen "the church" in heaven BEFORE the first seal is opened. Let us go on now and establish that these over a hundred million in heaven are in fact the church.
Can we find any other references to this multitude "which came out of great tribulation" (Rev. 7:9-14) so that we can identify them? Thank God, we can!
144,000First of all we notice that the 144,000 male, virgin (Rev. 14:4), Jewish servants of God (Rev. 7:1-8) were also singing "a new song before the throne" in heaven (Rev. 14:3). They were singing a new song which no other man could learn! They were seen in heaven before the seven vials containing the seven last plagues were poured out upon the earth (Rev. 15-16). Therefore the MULTITUDE singing "a new song" BEFORE the opening of the FIRST SEAL cannot be the same as the 144,000 singing "a new song" (which only the 144,000 could learn) in heaven AFTER the opening of the SIXTH SEAL!
TRIBULATION SAINTSSecondly, we again see the tribulation saints, and there is no doubt that they are they which went through part of the great tribulation. Read the following account:
Rev. 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
These "that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name" are the same as "they which came out of great tribulation" (Rev. 7:14). They both are said to have come out AFTER the opening of the SIXTH SEAL! They CANNOT be the church, which was raptured BEFORE THE FIRST SEAL!
TWO SONGSFurthermore, this cannot be the church of God which sings "a new song," for these people are singing two songs: "they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, AND the song of the Lamb" (Rev. 15:3). This multitude is made up of the Jewish remnant which naturally sings "the song of Moses the servant of God" and of the Gentiles which sing "the song of the Lamb". To say that this group is the church is not only heresy, but it reveals a strange BLINDNESS to the clear and plain statements of the scripture!
Let's go back to Revelation 5 where we found the church in heaven before the first seal and head off an argument that will surely surface sooner or later.
Rev. 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
ANGELS OR SAINTSOne might well point out that John heard the voice of many "angels" and that it was the "angels" that numbered over a hundred million. One might use this to attempt to refute the assertion that this is indeed the church of God in heaven before the first seal is opened. First of all, verse 9 states that "people" were speaking and singing to God and not angels.
Secondly, these people had been "redeemed" by the BLOOD!
Eph. 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace
Thirdly, John said that he "beheld" [saw] "many angels". This explanation may lose some of you, but if you are a Bible believer, then it's simply "line upon line," brother! The Lord Jesus Christ, speaking of the state of those who are counted worthy of going to heaven spoke the following:
Matt. 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
So, when John saw the redeemed in heaven after the resurrection, he saw them "as angels" and reported exactly what he saw! Not only that, but the "angel" which showed John "that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God" (Rev. 21:10) turned out not to be an angel, as John recorded that he was, but one of his brethren, a prophet, even though John SAW HIM AS AN ANGEL!
Rev. 22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
BLIND SPOTBrother Rosenthal has a blind spot which causes him to skip the appearance of the Church in Revelation 5:
"Chapters 4 and 5 describe a heavenly scene depicting God seated upon His throne. In this heavenly scene, the church would not be expected to be in view [and why not, Brother Rosenthal?]. Chapter 6 describes the opening of the first six seals and concludes with the statement that God's wrath "is come" (i.e., is about to occur). It is precisely at this point of time, before the opening of the seventh seal and the commencement of God's wrath, that the church is raptured in chapter 7" (p. 245).
PLAINLY therefore, we have Brother Rosenthal's heresy revealed as a nonscriptural PHILOSOPHY.
Eccl. 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
The CHURCH IS SEEN IN HEAVEN BEFORE the Lord Jesus Christ opens the FIRST SEAL, while the TRIBULATION SAINTS are seen in heaven AFTER THE SIXTH SEAL is opened. Can they be the same group? Of course not!
ATTACKING THE WORD AND DOCTRINEBrother Rosenthal changes God's word and then use his change to argue his own heresy! Commenting on 1 Thess. 3:13 he wrote:
" 'Saints' in this verse is an unfortunate and inappropriate translation. 'Saints' in this verse does not refer to believers. The Greek word hagios should be translated holy ones and is a reference to angelic beings. These angelic beings will accompany Christ at His coming (parousia) [cf. Matt. 25:31; 2 Thess. 1:7-8; Rev. 19:14]. In no sense, then, can 1 Thessalonians 3:13 be used to support the teaching that the Lord comes for the church at the beginning of the seventieth week and then with the church at its end, as some contend" (p. 218).
Clearly speaking of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we read:
NEW TESTAMENT1 Thess. 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
OLD TESTAMENTZech. 14:3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
Here is an Old Testament reference to the second coming which ALSO says that "the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee". God said that the Holy Ghost would teach the child of God by "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (1Cor. 2:13), therefore let God teach you that when the Lord Jesus Christ comes at the second coming He will bring "ALL THE SAINTS" with him! He will bring the Old Testament saints (the firstfruits). He will bring the church age saints (the harvest). And He will bring the tribulation saints (the gleanings).
Even Enoch, who IS A TYPE OF THE CHURCH, prophesied of the second coming:
Jude 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
Three times, God said that the Lord was coming WITH HIS SAINTS. Do you know what that means? It means the Lord is coming with his saints!
THE CHURCH IS COMING WITH THE LORDNow, let's look at the three references given by Brother Rosenthal in the above quotation from his book on page 218 and see if these texts will introduce any problem to our understanding of what we have clearly seen the scriptures teach about the SAINTS coming back WITH the Lord.
Matt. 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
2 Thess. 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
We have already shown that the resurrected "saints" will be "as the angels" (Matt. 22:30), and how the "angel" that showed John things in heaven was a resurrected "prophet" (Rev. 22:9). We also know that Jesus Christ will come "with all his saints" (1 Thess. 3:13). Therefore there are certainly not any contradictions. Either the "angels" (Matt. 25:31; 2 Thess. 1:7) are a reference to the resurrected "saints," or Jesus Christ is coming "with all his saints" (1 Thess. 3:13) AND "all the holy angels with him" (Matt. 25:31). We see no problem here.
ARMIES IN HEAVENThe last reference given by Brother Rosenthal which supposedly backs up his heresy is Revelation 19:14:
Rev. 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Joel chapter two whose context is "the day of the Lord" refers also to the Lord's army:
Joel 2:11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
Who are these "armies" (Rev. 19:14)? There are some definite answers to be found in the scriptures. Bildad asks:
Job 25:3 Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise?
Bildad is no doubt talking about how many individuals make up the armies or hosts of the Lord, but there are some distinct armies of the Lord mentioned. We know who the captain of the host of the Lord is! The captain of the host is also the captain of our salvation the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE CAPTAINJosh. 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Hebr. 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
ANGELS are said to be an army:Dan. 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou
RESURRECTED ISRAEL is said to be an army (Read Ezekiel 37 for details):Ezek. 37:10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
THE CHURCH OF GOD is said to be "an army," and yet, "two armies"!Song 6:4 Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.
10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.
The church of God is one church, but it is made up of Jew and Gentile, so it is "as it were the company of two armies" (Song 6:13).
Eph. 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby
I do not know the line up of all those who will make up those armies which will come with the Lord at the second coming, but I know for certain that the church of God will be among them! The same chapter shows that the "wife hath made herself ready" (v. 7), and that she was "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints" (v. 8). Then I read in Rev. 19:14 that the armies were "clothed in fine linen white and clean" (v. 14). The scripture did not say that the fine linen is the righteousness of angels! So, the "saints" are coming with the Lord, according to the scriptures, as we have observed.
GOD'S WARNINGSIn reference to Matthew 24, Brother Rosenthal states:
"This entire passage is composed of warnings inside the seventieth week prior to the prewrath rapture and commencement of the Day of the Lord By its commitment to rapture before the seventieth week begins, pretribulationism totally negates these God given warnings to the church" (pp. 285-286).
Again, because Brother Rosenthal does not recognize that there are TWO raptures in the future, he fails to see that part of the verses in Matthew chapter 24 refer to the rapture of the church while some of them do in deed refer to the rapture of the tribulation saints.
Pretribulationism doesn't negate anything in the scriptures. We certainly don't miss the rapture of the church and mistakenly identify the tribulation rapture as such! We would be the first to agree that the Bible has much to say concerning the rapture of the tribulation saints, however, the Bible also has much to say about the rapture of the church. We don't confuse the two, that's all.
To be more specific, there are verses that speak to the Jews who were blinded "in part" (Rom. 11:25) before the rapture of the church, and to the Gentiles who were never called by the gospel of grace prior to the rapture of the church. These now find themselves in the great tribulation. The following scriptures are speaking to these people:
Matt. 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved [He does not take the mark of the beast. He escapes the sword and is not killed by the plagues and wars. He will be saved from physical death if he makes it to the time of the end when the Lord will send his angels to deliver them at the tribulation rapture].
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come [The gospel of the kingdom will be preached AGAIN; not the gospel of the grace of God. These are not the same! See section on THE FOUR GOSPELS].
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) [this happens in the middle of Daniel's seventieth week or the middle of the tribulation and is no doubt a tremendous SIGN]
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
No doubt about it, the people who are left in the world after the rapture of the church and are still at liberty to repent and turn to God, will have many signs and warnings before the tribulation rapture. Remember that there are some men who cannot repent because of God's delusion (See section on DECEPTION OF GOD).
Now, compare these verse with the following which are no doubt written to those people living in the church age before the rapture of the church:
Matt. 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Notice carefully the wording: "knew not," "for ye know not," and "in such an hour as ye think not". These people will not see the signs given in the verses directed to the tribulation saint.
Even more graphic are the warnings of Luke chapter 21. Notice the following verses addressed to the people already in the tribulation:
Luke 21:11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
They are looking for signs!
To the ones living in the church age before the tribulation, the Lord said:
Luke 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Notice that the church age saints may be accounted worthy to escape "all these things," and that the day of the Lord will come "as a snare on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth" (v. 35). Sounds like the Lord will come "as a thief in the night"!
In contrast, to the one already in the tribulation, the Lord said, "And when these things begin to come to pass for your redemption draweth nigh." The redeemed at the rapture of the church will "escape ALL these things," but the tribulation saint is told to watch for "these things" to mark the coming of the angels to redeem him from the earth.
To recap: In Matt. 24:38-44 his coming is "as a thief," but in Matt. 24:30-31 with signs! In Luke 21:35-36 he is coming "as a thief" and promises the possibility of escape from "all these things". In Luke 21:11, 25-28 his coming is "with signs".
The Lord will send his angels and gather together his elect AFTER they have finished serving God during the great tribulation by preaching "the gospel of the kingdom" (Matt. 24:14) right up to the very end ["the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24)], just before God pours out the vials containing his wrath upon the earth.
Is there any precedent set whereby we may divide verses in a chapter between such diverse events as the church age and tribulation raptures? Yes, of course! The example was given by the One who has preeminence in all things, the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Lord was given the scroll of Isaiah to read in the synagogue one day, he read the portion of Isa. 61:1-2 that pertained to his first coming and then returned the scroll and sat down. The interesting thing is that he did not even finish reading verse 2! He stopped reading at the comma! He stopped, because after the comma the scripture was speaking of his second coming. Look at the two parts of verse two:
Isa. 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
The Lord stopped at the end of the highlighted portion because, "and the day of vengeance of our God" speaks of the second coming:
2 Thess. 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
Look at Luke's account of this:
Luke 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord [THIS IS WHERE THE COMMA IS IN ISAIAH 61:2].
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
The Lord said that, "This day is THIS SCRIPTURE fulfilled in your ears," not the scripture that he didn't read! In the same manner we are to seek the guidance and leading of the Holy Ghost to be able to discern the proper divisions in the scriptures.
1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
2 Tim. 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Brother Rosenthal has completely overlooked the rapture of the church age saints just before the first seal is opened! He therefore is in great error! Because of his strange blindness to that tremendous Biblical event, he has therefore misappropriated the verses which apply to the rapture of the tribulation saints and has applied them in error to the church.
THE FOUR GOSPELSOne more point, then we must close this booklet. Look at Brother Rosenthal's comment on the preaching of the gospel:
"Second, in direct response to the inquiry of the disciples concerning "the end of the age," the Lord taught this truth: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14). The end had still not yet occurred, although the context is well into the seventieth week. But a new truth is added. The gospel will be preached in all the world before the end will come" (p. 227).
Brother Rosenthal goes on to tie the "gospel of the kingdom" to what is called "the great commission" given to the disciples by the Lord in Matt. 28:18-20, however this is a misapplication.
First of all, the disciples inquired of "the end of the WORLD" (Matt. 24:3)! Secondly, it is absolutely true that "The gospel" will be preached in all the world BEFORE the end will come. But which gospel? The "gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24)? No! The "gospel of the kingdom" (Matt. 24:14)! The end of what? The church age? No! The WORLD! That is, the world governments will all end at the second coming of the King of kings!
The Lord Jesus Christ spoke of the "gospel of the kingdom" in relation to "the end".
Matt. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
It is very important that the reader understand that "the gospel of the kingdom" (Matt. 24:14) is not the same as "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). The gospel of the kingdom was preached by the Jewish disciples only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel before the Lord's resurrection (Matt. 10:5-6). After the resurrection, and after the "gospel of the grace of God" (Acts. 20:24) was revealed to the apostle Paul, the church knew that if they preached any other gospel they would be accursed (Gal. 1:8-9).
The only people preaching the "gospel of the kingdom" today are the cults such as "The Worldwide Church of God" and the "Jehovah's Witnesses". After the Church is raptured BEFORE the first seal is opened, THEN, during the great tribulation period, "the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" (Matt. 24:14). To preach the "gospel of the kingdom" during the church age brings a curse! (Gal. 1:8-9).
We know that there are four separate gospels mentioned in the Bible and that they are all different. We know they are different because the WORDS ARE DIFFERENT! Things that aren't the same are different. I thought it might be helpful to list these so that the reader can see for himself.
1. The "gospel unto Abraham" prophesied the coming of the Lamb of God:
Gal. 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gen. 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
2. The "gospel of the kingdom" declared that the kingdom of God was at hand:
Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
The first time this gospel was preached only to Israel. The second time it will be "preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" (Matt. 24:14).
3. The "gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24) declares that the Lamb of God has already come and died for the sins of the world and is risen again! It would not have even been possible for the Jewish disciples to preach this gospel to Israel BEFORE CALVARY! It is the gospel given first to the apostle to the Gentiles by special revelation (Gal. 1:11-12). It is the gospel the Church has been commanded to preach to every creature (Matt. 18:18-20; Mark 16:15). The Church will fail to carry out this commission seeing that there will be a great multitude of Gentiles who will come out of great tribulation who had never heard the truth (Rev. 7:9-14; 2 Thess. 2:9-12).
1 Cor. 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
4. The everlasting gospel preached by an angel toward the end of the great tribulation period:
Rev. 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
CONCLUSIONAlmost two thousand years ago "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15). More than fourteen years ago while reading "the record that God gave of his Son" (1 John 5:10) the Holy Ghost came to me and called me by the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14). Very soon, according to the scriptures, the Lord Jesus Christ will come "as a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2) to call me up to himself in the clouds. I am certain of what the scriptures teach about this great event for the church. I hope and pray that God will teach you the same great and infallible truths; and that these truths will provoke you to a closer walk and a more effective service for the Lord until he comes.
We believe that the scriptures given in this little booklet are sufficient to establish the truth about the pretribulation rapture of the church. We purposely omitted many typologies which support the doctrine, but which are not necessary to establish the doctrine. We have also refrained from quoting other men on this subject, because our faith does not rest on the testimony of men, but rather on the testimony of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Rev. 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.