Answering Common Questions to Pre Tribulation Rapture| John Walvoord

Answers to common questions regarding the pre tribulation rapture of the church.

(Audio Only) Answers Common Questions to Pre Tribulation Rapture John Walvoord


The concept of the rapture refers to the eschatological event of both dead and living believers being caught up together in a moment in the twinkling of an eye to meet Jesus in the air.


The belief in the rapture is widely held among most evangelicals. The basis for the rapture primarily 1 Thessalonians 4:17and 1 Corinthians 15:52 among many other passages, regarding the hope for believers of a future resurrection of their bodies. This resurrection will occur in the last days at or near the time when Jesus returns to earth.

Rapture Example


The concept of a “rapture” refers to the eschatological event of both dead and living believers being “caught up” (1Thes. 4:17) together in a moment “in the twinkling of an eye” (1Cor. 15:52) to meet Jesus in the air.

The term “rapture” comes from the Latin Vulgate’s use of the word rapiõ meaning “to seize, snatch away,” which is equivalent to the meaning of the Greek word harpazõ in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (“caught up”).

The rapture, then, relates to the hope of the resurrection of all believers who have died and the simultaneous transformation into a glorified body for believers who are still alive at the return of Jesus.

The most common issue centered around the Rapture has to do with the timing of it. There are three main views:

  1. Pre-Tribulation Rapture: This view maintains the rapture occurs when Jesus comes at unknown time to gather the church prior a seven-year Great Tribulation that precedes the return of Christ to earth.
  2. Mid-Tribulation Rapture: This is similar to the pre-tribulation view except that it locates the rapture after the first three-and-half years at the point when the Anti-Christ assumes power.
  3. Post-Tribulation: This view sees the rapture as occurring simultaneous to the return of Christ at the end of the Tribulation.

Although there are serious differences between the first three views of the rapture they all share the same perspective that the rapture is a separate event from the second coming of Christ.

The Rapture and the Return of Christ are Separate and Distinct Eschatological Events

Premillennial eschatology is distinguished by an emphasis on a literal reading of biblical prophecy, as well as a belief in a future for national Israel, a future period of tribulation before the return of Christ to earth to establish his millennial kingdom, and a subsequent final judgment.

The dispensational teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture fits within an end times series of events in which Christ will return for his church in two distinct stages.

First, Christ will return in the clouds to rapture all true believers. It is commonly understood as Christ’s secret return for the church and will happen imminently like a thief in the night so that believers will suddenly vanish without any warning and those left behind will not know what happened to them.

The rapture will mark the beginning of a seven-year Great Tribulation centered around the nation of Israel and will feature a number of devastating judgments.

After the Tribulation, Christ will return visibly to earth to establish his millennial kingdom.

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Irreducible Elements of the Gospel

The gospel is the great nonnegotiable of Christian truth. We aren’t allowed to add to, subtract from, embellish, or rejigger the sacred message of how sinful men can be reconciled to a holy God.

That’s why the apostle Paul reserved his sternest warning for anyone who would dare to mess with the message: “If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed” (Galatians 1:9).

The preacher is left with one option when it comes to faithful gospel proclamation—and it’s not an elusive option reserved for scholars. Paul expected his audience to be able to clearly differentiate between the one true gospel and all the other pretenders. It is an expectation implicitly placed upon all believers. With that in mind, we recently asked John MacArthur to identify and explain the essential truths of saving faith—the irreducible elements of the gospel.

Our destinies hinge on the unshakable nature of those truths. Any variation in just one of them and the hope of eternal life completely collapses.  

If you present a different god than the God of Scripture, you are effectively calling people to idolatry. If you preach another Christ you do not have the Lord; you have a liar or a lunatic. If salvation by grace through faith alone is corrupted with even the smallest amount of works-righteousness, “Christ will be of no benefit to you” (Galatians 5:2). If we don’t repent from our former sinful ways, we will perish (Luke 13:3,5).

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