Pre-Tribulation Harpazo

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According to the Bible’s definition of the great tribulation, a pre-tribulation harpazo occurs anytime before Israel’s persecution starts at the abomination of desolation. Matthew 24:15-22 Many view the harpazo prior to the beginning of the final seven years appointed to Israel, Daniel 9:27, but by the very use of “tribulation” in the term “pre-tribulation,” identifies the timing with that of the great tribulation. There is no seven-year tribulation spoken of in scripture. As shown in the definition, and straight from Matthew 24:21, this time doesn’t start until mid-way through the 7 years. This also limits the time of the great tribulation to just over 3½ years maximum. Since the time of great tribulation begins at the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet in the midst of the 70th week of Daniel and it begins with the dragon’s persecution of the woman, the great tribulation is defined as the time the antichrist is after the saints on the earth. As Daniel 7:23-25 points out, “they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

Now I used to hold the pre-tribulation view of the harpazo until I did my study on the term great tribulation. It was also after finding Luke 17:24-37, that I realized that when looking at the scriptures themselves, a pre-wrath harpazo was more apparent and fitting with the whole council of God. I think the main problem between all the different viewpoints is the fact that their harpazo timing revolves around “tribulation.” How you define “tribulation” changes your perspective on the harpazo because your harpazo is labeled in direct relation to the tribulation, pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib. It is imperative to define what “tribulation” you’re talking about.


Why I don’t hold this belief anymore:

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, [the harpazo] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except
  1. there come a falling away first, and
  2. that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; How is the son of perdition revealed?
    • Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

Pre-trib means before the great tribulation. That starts at the abomination of desolation, which is what the revealing of the man of sin is described as in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5.

Matthew 24:15-22
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:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Daniel spoke of the abomination of desolation in several places.

  • Daniel 9:27 (70 Weeks of Daniel tied to the future “prince that shall come” of the Romans that destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD)
  • Daniel 11:31 (Detailing of the “time of the end”)
  • Daniel 12:11 (Abomination of desolation to the end)

These are pointing to a point 1290 days before the end of the 70th week of Daniel where the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation “set up.”

set up (H5414)
נתן
nâthan (naw-than’)
A primitive root; to give, used with great latitude of application (put, make, etc.): - add, apply, appoint, ascribe, assign, X avenge, X be ([healed]), bestow, bring (forth, hither), cast, cause, charge, come, commit consider, count, + cry, deliver (up), direct, distribute do, X doubtless, X without fail, fasten, frame, X get, give (forth, over, up), grant, hang (up), X have, X indeed, lay (unto charge, up), (give) leave, lend, let (out), + lie, lift up, make, + O that, occupy, offer, ordain, pay, perform, place, pour, print, X pull, put (forth), recompense, render, requite, restore, send (out), set (forth), shew, shoot forth (up). + sing, + slander, strike, [sub-] mit, suffer, X surely, X take, thrust, trade, turn, utter, + weep, X willingly, + withdraw, + would (to) God, yield.

I think that the abomination of desolation is described in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and it’s explicitly stated that the day of Christ will not happen unless those two conditions are met. The beast, or antichrist, has not revealed himself by declaring himself god in the Jewish temple, and since that starts the great tribulation, the Bible goes directly against the term pre-trib in reference to the harpazo because the great tribulation doesn’t start until after the man of sin is revealed.

I believe “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering to Him” is the “day of Christ” according to 2 Thessalonians 2:1,2 and these other scriptures:

  • Philippians 1:10 - Being without offence till the day of Christ.
  • Philippians 2:16 - Rejoicing in the day of Christ that haven’t run or labored in vain.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:8 - Being blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:5 - Spirit saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:14 - Rejoicing of the disciples that Corinthian church is with them in the day of the Lord Jesus.

The “day of Christ” is a day we as Christians look forward to as opposed to the day of the Lord, which is His wrath to which we are not appointed. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 I believe the day of Christ and the day of the Lord happen very close in time to each other, but I think the day of Christ is first, when He catches away His bride, the church. Ephesians 5:23 Regarding His wrath:

Matthew 24:37-42
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 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, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Notice that the sudden destruction is flanked on both sides with the coming of the Son of man. In other words, we should expect the sudden destruction about the same time as Christ’s coming for His bride. This is seen in the multitudes in heaven standing before the throne and before the Lamb after the sixth seal, Revelation 6:12-17, and before the seventh, Revelation 8:1,2.

Revelation 7:9
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

The sudden destruction from God’s wrath does not occur before the man of sin is revealed at the abomination of desolation.

Joel 2:31
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.

Matthew 24:29
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

All this means that the wrath of God, associated with the coming of our Lord, can’t happen until after the abomination of desolation. This is in complete agreement with 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 which states that the falling away and the revealing of the man of sin must precede the coming of our Lord and our gathering to Him.

Another reason for me not holding the pre-trib viewpoint of the harpazo has to do with an in-depth study of the day of the Lord and how that is connected to the wrath of God coming and also the sealing of the 144,000 and the vision of the multitudes in heaven before the throne.

First, I would like to point out another case where the changes in translation between the KJV and NIV subtly hide details from us. The differences are bolded.

2 Peter 3:8-10 (NIV)
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. ??? The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

2 Peter 3:8-10 (KJV)
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Notice that in the KJV, we see that the destruction of the heavens and earth is within the “day of the Lord.” From verse 8, we see that this time period is 1,000 years long. So according to the KJV, this destruction is within the 1,000 year period whereas with the NIV translation, the destruction of the earth seems to follow the Lord coming like a thief.

However, since the Lord rules on the earth from Jerusalem, the heavens can’t pass away, elements melt with a fervent heat, and the earth can’t be burned up on the day of the Lord if it isn’t 1,000 years. The end of the 1,000 years of Christ’s rule will be with the great white throne judgment. Then the new heavens and new earth made way by the destruction of the current heavens and earth.

Now we see several other scriptures that label the day of the Lord as the wrath of God and that it comes like a thief.

Isaiah 13:6-11
Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. [6th Seal] For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

Here we see the day of the Lord directly related to destruction from the Almighty. And once again, we see the sixth seal associated with the day of the Lord, describing the sun darkening and the moon darkening. I believe the moon turning to blood is literally a hunter’s moon, or lunar eclipse. This both darkens the light from the moon and turns it red. More on the other signs of the sixth seal and what I think they may be here.

Isaiah 2:10-12
[6th Seal] Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

I think it’s interesting how verse 10 starts with hiding under the rocks for fear of the Lord. That’s exactly what Revelation 6:15 says about the sixth seal! This fits perfectly with the wrath of God starting just about ½ hour after the seventh seal is opened when the trumpets begin to sound God’s wrath upon the earth.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the LORD so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

The day of the Lord does come like a thief in the night. However, we are not in darkness like the world such that this day won’t surprise us, we’ll be watching for it. Notice also that the sudden destruction comes upon them and they shall not escape. Notice also that we are not appointed to wrath but salvation by our Lord Yeshua the Christ. Those are in direct opposition to each other. Some do not escape (those in darkness) while those who are not in darkness are not appointed to that wrath that comes suddenly like a thief in the night. The Lord is taking something from the earth, our current house. He is taking His bride before His wrath comes upon this house.

What this all shows me is that the Bible places the day of the Lord as the beginning of God’s wrath. We are not appointed to that wrath, but are told we will escape from this time that comes upon all them the dwell on the whole earth. To not be a part of that group receiving the wrath of God, we must not be on the earth.

Luke 21:34-36
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 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.

This all shows a transition at one point in history. The day of the Lord is God’s wrath coming on the earth. Since our harpazo to Him is after the revealing of the man of sin, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, and before God’s wrath, see here for all the scriptural proof, then before the day of the Lord comes, we are removed. More specifically, I believe it is simultaneous. I believe that’s why the “day of Christ” is differentiated from the “day of the Lord.” Even though they are the same time, it’s a matter of perspective. For the unbeliever, it is a scary time of God’s wrath coming on them. For the Christian, it’s the day of Christ, the blessed hope we’ve been waiting for.

I would also like to point out that God’s wrath is completely poured out by Christ’s return in glory to take the kingdoms. The day of the Lord can’t be post-trib then because that’s when His wrath begins and just the fifth trumpet is 5 months of demon locust stings. The seven trumpets and seven bowls will take longer than 5 months to be poured out on the children of disobedience.

As far as the timing, there are several pivotal scriptures. Joel 2:31 states that the day of the Lord is after the sixth seal.

Matthew 24:29-31 places the sixth seal “immediately after the tribulation of those days.” What days? What tribulation? We only have to look to earlier in Matthew 24 to see that it is the unparalleled time of great tribulation which Yeshua said would require the obedient in Judea to run to the mountains to survive. Notice it was in Judea. Jeremiah 30:4-7 and Daniel 12:1 both make the same claim of describing a time of unparalleled trouble in all of history and once again, it’s focused on Israel.

Revelation 12:13-17 shows that Satan’s wrath is initially just on the Jews. At that time, the majority will be living in Judea. However, as verse 17 points out, there are a remnant throughout the world that Satan will go after when he can no longer get the woman in Judea. Revelation 12:14 states that Israel is protected from the dragon for 3½ years.

Daniel 12:11 states that from the Abomination of desolation is 1290 days. The time of great tribulation starts at the abomination of desolation and continues for 42 months (3½ years). Revelation 13:1-5

So if Israel’s protected from the dragon for the same time the dragon is given power, how can he get Israel? The answer is the 30 day period after the abomination of desolation. See the chart below:

What this all means when put together is that the sixth seal is about 30 days after the abomination of desolation. Around this time, Israel is taken to the wilderness and the 144,000 are sealed. This is also the time that the bride of Christ is caught up before God’s wrath.

I believe this will be the “fullness of the Gentiles” from Romans 11:25-27 and the point when Israel is unblinded. I believe this will also be the point when Israel becomes jealous of the bride because they’re unblinded and realize what is going on somewhat.

What’s more is the sealing of the 144,000 and the fulfillment of Luke 21:36 is seen in Revelation 7, nestled nicely between the sixth seal in Revelation 6 and the seventh seal and trumpets in Revelation 8! Could it be this placement is not an accident given the scriptural evidence above? I believe that to be the case.


As The Days of Noah

Another reason I don’t hold pre-trib to be valid comes from how Christ is described as coming, in relation to the days of Noah.

Matthew 24:37-42
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 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, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

The days of Noah consist of the time from before the flood until the door to the ark was shut by God and the flood came and took all those who didn’t believe by faith away. What this tells me is that the Son of man comes when the wrath of God, destruction from the Almighty, comes. This is defined as the day of the Lord.

Isaiah 13:6-13
Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. [6th Seal]-> For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

So God’s wrath is the beginning of the day of the Lord and is associated with the shaking of the heavens. We know the great tribulation starts with the abomination of desolation according to Christ, who refers to Daniel’s 70th week and places the abomination of desolation in the midst of the week. To place the day of the Lord (God’s wrath) in that timeline, we need only look at Matthew 24:29, which connects again the shaking of the heavens after the sixth seal as Isaiah 13:6-13 does. The wrath of God is the beginning of the day of the Lord and according to Joel, that comes after the sixth seal.

Joel 2:31
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.

This places the destruction after the sixth seal, which is after the abomination of desolation. The abomination of desolation starts the great tribulation. Matthew 24:37-42 associates the coming of the Son of man with the sudden destruction of the flood. The similarity of God closing the door to the ark is also there as the door to heaven no man can shut. So it would seem to me that this passage is talking about the coming of the Son of man at the time of sudden destruction, which places our harpazo “at the last day,” which is the day of the Lord, just before the sudden destruction comes.

This cannot be pre-trib because the “trib” started prior to the wrath of God and Matthew 24:37-42 associates the coming of the Son of man with God’s wrath and the sudden destruction. This also enlightens us as to why we don’t know the day or hour of His coming. Because if we did, everyone could and the time is supposed to come suddenly and unexpectedly upon the children of disobedience. This shows everyone who really desires Christ and who could care less until they’re in trouble. The bride is comprised of those who love God and give themselves to Him during the good times as well as the bad. They’re completely in love with their Creator. That’s what a marriage should be built on anyways right? Mutual love for each other?

Tempers on this subject always seem to flare, but we need to be one body and one mind on what the Word of God says. I was once very sure about pre-trib and defended it with what I knew. I feel I was wrong. However, I had to come to that conclusion on my own. I had to be willing to drop my pre-conceived notions in exchange for a frank, honest look at scripture without the lens of pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, or pre-wrath among other lenses. It seems to me that the coming of the Son of man is associated with sudden destruction as in Noah’s time. Same with Lot, the just are removed from the destination of God’s wrath, then it comes. In both examples from the past associated with the coming of the Son of man, the destruction immediately follows the removal. For Noah and family, the removal into the ark to be elevated above the destruction. God closed the door. With Lot, they were moved from the destination of God’s wrath and it came so soon that they were able to turn and watch the destruction take place if they desired to become salt. In both cases however, the wrath immediately followed.

We know that the abomination of desolation starts the great tribulation by which pre-trib defines the harpazo. We know also that the day of the Lord, destruction from Almighty, is after the sixth seal (Joel 2:31), which is “immediately after the tribulation of those days,” the time of Jacob’s trouble. Any way you look at it, this is after the tribulation has begun so it must not be a pre-trib harpazo. This is in accordance with 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 as well.


Addressing Imminence

Imminence
the state or condition of being imminent or impending.

I posit that the coming of Christ for His bride is impending indeed! However, I also believe from my research of the Bible that we truly aren’t in the dark about this time. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 I also believe that everything we need to know in order to not be in darkness about this time is contained in the Bible, which was written by the prophets of old as led by the Holy Spirit. We therefore need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to fully understand the detail written into scripture.

Amos 3:7
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Yes it is true that we don’t know the day or hour. But where else in scripture is there any indication we don’t know the week or month or year? Not knowing the day or hour has prevented many from looking deeper into scripture in the area of timing because they then feel they are date-setting.

However, the closer we get to the end, the more prophetic events from the end we will begin to see come to pass, and our understanding of the meaning of scripture will increase.

Daniel 12:4
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

My point is that the Bible itself, with an understanding of history and Bible prophecy, lays out a complete timeline of events with incredible precision all centered around the apple of God’s eye, Israel and her judgments. Israel has been blinded since the triumphal entry. Luke 19:41-44 That blindness to the Truth will remain until the fullness of the Gentiles. Romans 11:25

God gave very specific prophecies to Ezekiel, Daniel, and John (Revelation) about the future of Israel and how that plays out in the timeline of history. I can’t stress this enough, that God wrote into the Bible exact timeframes that lay out the judgments allotted for Israel and can be connected to historical events that bring us to this very day in Bible prophecy and lay out the 70th week of Daniel in great detail with exact days between events. The judgments of the Old Testament for Israel bring us to right now in history and the clock is almost at midnight! The Lord’s coming is imminent indeed, but that doesn’t mean it could be at any time. God’s plan is set in stone from the foundation of the world. We just don’t know the day or hour of the harpazo because it occurs very close to the day of the Lord, which is supposed to come like a thief in the night to the unsuspecting children of disobedience. But again, we aren’t in darkness about this time. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Please examine the group of Bible studies in HIStory, Our Future: Pearls for the Bride as they lay out the historical judgments of Israel that lead to our time now. I believe you will see why the 70th week of Daniel started at the end of those prophesied judgments, it’s time for God to save Israel and that’s what the 70th week is, the completion of the future of Israel as prophesied to Daniel in Babylon over 2,520 years ago!


I will address some points from The Doctrine of Imminency: Is It Biblical?

Dr. Gerald Stanton wrote:
The primary thought expressed by imminency is that something important is likely to happen, and could do so without delay. While it may not be immediate nor necessarily soon, it is next on the program and may take place at any time. If the event is evil or potentially dangerous we would call it impending for it is threatening to occur. But if it is an event full of hope and joyful expectation we express it by the noun imminence or the adjective imminent Among believers, these words normally relate to the possible soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to catch up His Church in that happy and monumental event called the harpazo.

The word imminent should not be confused with immanent which means in theological language that God is not only transcendent, far above us, but that He is always with us and active on our behalf. Nor should it be confused with eminent a title of honor usually reserved for a king or other person of outstanding distinction. Imminence is used to describe the coming of Jesus Christ for His Church, the harpazo experience, and to declare that it is next on the prophetic program of God.

I believe 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 directly contradicts the idea that the harpazo is the next event on the prophetic timetable. I believe the day of Christ is the beginning of the day of the Lord, just from different perspectives.

We as the bride of Christ are not appointed to God’s wrath. Tribulation, yes. Persecution, yes. God’s wrath intended for the children of disobedience, NO. Luke 21:34-36 directly addresses our escape from the wrath of God, which is fulfilled after the harpazo as seen in Revelation 7:9. God’s wrath is coming on all them that dwell on the whole earth. Therefore, to escape it, we must not be on the whole earth. That is where the harpazo comes in. (I’m pre-wrath for these reasons)

The children of disobedience to God are prophesied to have this sudden destruction come upon them suddenly and they won’t escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

According to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, the day of Christ will not come unless there is a falling away first, and the man of sin is revealed. It goes on to describe the abomination of desolation when the man of sin sets himself up as an idol to be worshipped in the Holy of holies in the rebuilt temple. That is also the beginning of the great tribulation according to Christ. Matthew 24:15-22 It is also connected by Christ to Daniel, who says that the abomination of desolation is in the “midst of the week,” which is the 70th week of Daniel.

Therefore, the idea of a pre-trib harpazo being the next event doesn’t fit with Bible prophecy because it also talks about:

  1. A confirmed covenant with many
  2. Gog/Magog attack, which must come while Israel is dwelling in safety and before Christ returns in glory. Explained here.
  3. The implied rebuilding of the temple in order for the abomination of desolation to take place. The temple WILL be rebuilt. It’s a physical temple described in Revelation 11:1,2 More on that here.
  4. The false peace required to get the temple rebuilt.

All these things lay out an exacting plan which lists several events in Bible prophecy that will happen before we are caught away. Therefore, the harpazo cannot be the next event we’re waiting for.

Dr. Gerald Stanton wrote:
Actually, the term imminency normally implies three important truths concerning our Lord’s coming:

(1) While no one knows the time of Christ’s return, He may come at any moment and it is possible that He might come today. It is this hope which keeps the Church singing: “Jesus may come today. Glad day! Glad day! And I would see my friend! Dangers and troubles would end, If Jesus should come today.”

Similarly we sing with expectation: “Jesus is coming to earth again. What if it were today?” In the midst of all the trials and sorrows of life, it is the hope of Christ’s imminent return which never fails to encourage the troubled heart.

I’ve found that understanding the details of God’s plan has completely taken away any fear because there is understanding about the future and faith in the Bible brings the realization that the future is known by those who love God and trust His Word! Also, as I pointed out above, knowing the details of God’s plan reveals that there are events that will unfold before the harpazo of the bride.

What concerns me is that those who look to the harpazo as the next event put a mental block in their mind many times preventing them from connecting current events to Bible prophecy because their view is set already that they only need to watch for Christ. While I don’t believe this takes away their salvation nor prevents them from going in the harpazo as long as they keep watching, Christ told us to watch and gave us details about all the things that would happen to watch for.

Given my personal studies and seeing them laid out in scripture and history while seeing prophetic fulfillments that fit with Bible prophecy now, I’m amazed at how few believers recognize the times we are in. We’re supposed to be watching and I want everyone to have an open mind guarded by the Word of God. Acts 17:11 If someone has set it in their heart that a perspective is correct, they are more prone to disregard other information that doesn’t fit with that perception. Look at history and you can see this pattern repeated for any concept. Evolution is a big one. I’m not associating pre-trib with evolution, but rather trying to bring to light a concept brought to light in the two quotes I opened with. This goes for pre-trib, pre-wrath, and post-trib alike.

As the body of Christ we need to be united, and the Bible is that singularity that should bring us together as one. However, we all need to read it the same way. The only way we can do that is if we all agree that what the Bible says, it means and that all symbology should be interpreted from within scripture itself. This way, we add nothing and take nothing away from the Word. I know it’s easier said than done with some, but the end is coming and we will be united then. I just believe the Bible gives us what we need to be united in Spirit and Truth RIGHT NOW!

Dr. Gerald Stanton wrote:
(2) The harpazo is signless, and will be unannounced and largely unexpected. It is next on the revealed program of God, and is so presented in the Scripture that every generation may enjoy the hope, challenge and other blessings of His appearing. We are all exhorted to watch but no one can know the day nor the hour when the Bridegroom will come (Matthew 25:13).

I agree that it will be unexpected. I believe we don’t know the day or hour of the harpazo because it comes just before God’s wrath does. The Bible says that the children of disobedience will be caught unawares. If we knew when the harpazo was, the world would know when the destruction was, but the Bible says they won’t. Therefore, we cannot know the day or hour of the harpazo either. It is however set for an exact day and hour since the beginning.

I do believe that the harpazo will be announced though.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

And again, I disagree on the harpazo being next on the agenda given the studies referenced above.

Dr. Gerald Stanton wrote:
(3) No clearly prophesied event must transpire prior to the harpazo, for this might date the time of His coming. If the return of Christ for His Church is imminent, then obviously it will be before the coming period of Tribulation with its clearly predicted signs and judgments. In theological language, the harpazo of the Church must be Pretribulational We do not first look for an invasion of the Holy Land by Russia or some other northern confederation, nor the revelation of Antichrist and his godless ambitions, nor the predicted Battle of Armageddon with its vast devastation. We look next for the coming of Christ from heaven to take His own to the Father’s house (John 14:1-3), and the Bible calls this our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).
  1. Gog/Magog must occur when Israel is living in safety in the latter years. Ezekiel 38:8 (This places it in the end-times and at a time when Israel is living safely. This eliminates the possibility of it occurring any time after the abomination of desolation since from that point until the end of the week Israel will be protected in the wilderness, not living in Jerusalem. Revelation 12:14)
  2. Gog/Magog marks the end of Israel’s polluting of God’s name. Ezekiel 39:6-7 (This means that from that point on, they will not be the largely secular society they are now. This limits the Gog/Magog invasion to sometime before Israel is taken into the wilderness and explains why Israel might want to rebuild the temple given the problems that would cause with Islam now. They still haven’t accepted Christ, so when they see God save them, they will turn back to Him the only way they know, the ways of their fathers.)
  3. These two eliminate the possibility of it being in the millennium because Israel’s petition and acceptance of Christ is what brings His return. Matthew 23:37-39 | Hosea 5:15

This leaves the only possibility that Gog/Magog takes place before the abomination of desolation and after today, since Israel is not really living in peace and Gog/Magog hasn’t happened yet.

The news is also pointing to peace developing in the Middle East, pushed forward by the 7-year ENPI, which “breathes new life” into the 1995 Barcelona Conference’s Euro-Med agreement. And as prophecy would have it, the group putting forth this ENP is based out of the same footprint nations of the Roman Empire. Daniel 2 relays a statue which has the same metal that makes up the two legs (Roman Empire) and the feet/10 Toes. Since the EU has 10 voting member states, it seems to all fit quite well.

Dr. Gerald Stanton wrote:
It is this which gives such great importance to our speaking of the “imminent return of Christ.” We believe that the Bible teaches clearly that the harpazo of the Church will take place before the coming Great Tribulation, the time of the outpoured wrath of God. This has become the cherished hope of a vast number of Christian people, especially those of conservative theology and Premillenial expectation. Which is why those of Posttribulational persuasion oppose it so vigorously.

I disagree with his interpretation of what the “great tribulation” is. I define this term by what causes it’s beginning.

Matthew 24:15-22
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:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

This has nothing to do with God’s wrath. It has everything to do with Satan’s wrath.

Revelation 12:13-17
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

God’s wrath doesn’t start when Satan is cast to the earth. It starts after the time of Jacob’s trouble, when Israel is protected from the dragon. It starts soon after the sixth seal.

Joel 2:30-32
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

According to Matthew 24:29-31, the sixth seal is immediately after that unparalleled time in Matthew 24:15-22, which is the time of Jacob’s trouble. Jeremiah 30:4-7 | Daniel 12:1 This time period of Jacob’s trouble can only be 30 days maximum. (Revelation 13:5 | Revelation 12:14 | Daniel 12:11 -- Revelation 13:5 [1260 days] starts when Daniel 12:11 [1290 days] does at the abomination of desolation. Revelation 12:14 says Israel is protected for 1260 days. Therefore, since the dragon does get 2/3 of Israel, Zechariah 13:8,9 | Revelation 12:13, those exact same time periods must be offset. See chart below)

Dr. Gerald Stanton wrote:
WHY DO WE BELIEVE IN THE IMMINENT RETURN OF CHRIST?

There are a number of reasons. (1) First, we see clearly that the harpazo is not identical with the Revelation, commonly called the Second Coming of Christ. There are some obvious differences. The harpazo relates to the Church, when the dead in Christ shall rise and the living will be translated to meet the Lord in the air (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). It expresses hope and a warm spirit of expectancy (1 Thessalonians 1:10), all of which should result in a victorious and purified life (1 John 3:2-3). On the other hand, the Second Coming of Christ does not deal primarily with the saint but with the sinner. When Christ returns to earth, Armageddon must be terminated (Revelation 19:17-18), the Beast and the False Prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:19-20), Satan shall be bound in the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3), the nations of earth will be gathered and judged (Matthew 25:31-46), and Israel, which has gone through deep trial, will now behold and put their trust in Christ, their true Messiah (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:26-27). (2) There is a vast difference in the language used for these two events. While both relate to the endtime and both describe actions on the part of Christ, early believers were taught to look for the Savior (Philippians 3:20; Titus 2:13). “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). Likewise, they were to wait for God’s Son from heaven (1 Thessalonians 1:10). They were to watch and be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6), and to comfort one another with the hope of Christ’s coming (1 Thessalonians 4:18). These frequent exhortations caused them to believe that the return of Christ was imminent.

I think because of Daniel 12:4, we should expect that we will have more understanding of the details as time goes closer to the end. They were told back then that they wouldn’t know the day or hour and that it was yet future. However, until Israel became a nation again, the fig tree putting forth it’s leaves, the end couldn’t come and so neither would Christ for His bride...yet. In the vein of understanding Bible prophecy, I think we have a better, more clear perspective now than they did then. That clarity also reveals other truths in scripture as I’m trying to present here that give more clarity than they had in the early church to understand the details of what was written. We have the same Bible, but we also have the keys occurring around us to connect history to Bible prophecy, and therefore reveal the future through the lens of scripture.

Dr. Gerald Stanton wrote:
Paul seemed to include himself among those who looked for Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1). Timothy was exhorted to “keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 6:14). Jewish converts were reminded that “yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37). Many have concluded that the expectation of some was so strong they had ceased their work and had to be exhorted to return to their labors (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12), and all were exhorted to have patience (James 5:8). Finally, John concluded the book of Revelation and closed the canon of Scripture with the glad cry: “He which testifies these things says, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). Such Scriptures form the very foundation for the widely acclaimed hope of Christ’s imminent return.

But we should use the exact nature of Bible prophecy to define our foundation. Look at all the exact day prophecies that lay out our framework. We need to have that framework before building the rest of the house. It’s based solely on scripture and using the only common language, numbers. No misinterpretation will occur there unless we don’t accept them for what they say.

Dr. Gerald Stanton wrote:
How very different is the language of the Second Advent when Christ returns to deal with the unbelief and rebellion of the wicked. In that day, He will “in flaming fire take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Failure to distinguish harpazo from Revelation has become a major source of confusion among the various schools of eschatology.

(3) Imminency has been the consistent belief of evangelical Christians down through the centuries. While theological terms such as trinity, theophany imminency inerrancy and premillenial developed gradually over the centuries, it is clear that although they did not use the term, imminency was indeed the expectation of the Apostolic Church.

John F. Walvoord, a prime authority in the field of Bible eschatology, forcefully states and illustrates this truth:
“The central feature of pretribulationism, the doctrine of imminency, is, however, a prominent feature of the doctrine of the early church ... [which] lived in constant expectation of the coming of the Lord for His church.”
He then quotes the Didache dated about 100-120 AD, which contains the exhortation:
“Watch for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh.”

It’s a good way to keep the body of Christ in constant awareness of their place in God’s plan. Clearly though God’s plan is set in stone and spelled out for us. They may have said the Lord could come at any time back then, but He didn’t. In fact, He couldn’t because for almost 2,000 years, Israel was blinded by God. They couldn’t understand as a nation if they wanted to. That blindness will be lifted in the near future.

We should apply that same understanding now and trust that everything we need to know to be good watchmen is contained completely in the Bible. God said He wouldn’t do anything without revealing His plans to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7 Look at the example at Sodom and Gomorrah as He told Abraham about the coming destruction. He also called us friends and that the master tells his friends what He is doing. This means that if we’re told to watch, we will be given the information to understand what we’re looking at. That’s what is contained within Bible prophecy, the framework from which to watch events unfold! Christ will return at a set time, we just are told we won’t know the day or hour of that set time. Looking at the fulfilled prophecies, it’s all laid out in a framework of certain timeframes. 2,520 | 1,260 | 1,290 | 14,000 | etc. This is God’s fingerprint on our history, showing that He is always in control. The only time we are told we won’t know is the day and hour.