Friday, September 30, 2022

A Look at Post-Trib Rapture Contradictions


The timing of the Rapture in relation to the Tribulation period is never explicitly defined in scripture. As such, many say that there is no way to know when it will occur. However, with study, it can be deduced using a process of elimination. If a specific viewpoint introduces contradictions and inconsistencies with other scripture, then that view can be discarded by process of elimination.

This article will focus on inconsistencies and contradictions that are inherent in the Post-Tribulational Rapture view, rather than attempting to prove the validity of other Rapture views.

Post-Trib Rapture adherents hold to a doctrine called "The General Resurrection" or as some call it, the "First Resurrection". This doctrine teaches that when Jesus returns, there is a concurrent resurrection at the end of the Tribulation that combines the resurrections of the Dan 12:2 Old Testament saints, Rev 20:4 New Testament saints and the Rapture (1Th 4:15-17) into a single resurrection event.

Presenting these resurrections as a single Post-Trib event introduces a number of contradictions that cannot be resolved, bringing the viewpoint into question. These will be discussed below.

For the sake of clarity, I will refer to the Post-Trib single resurrection event as the "General Resurrection".

The Gathering of the Elect

Matthew 24:29-31

Post-Trib doctrine holds that Mat 24:29-31 is a General Resurrection passage. This interpretation of this passage holds that the gathering of "His elect from the four winds" is speaking of the General Resurrection as defined in the Introduction.

Mat 24:29-31 "Immediately after the distress of those days "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' (30) "Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. (31) And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Mat 24:31 is not a Rapture passage. It is a promise to Israel. Jesus in this passage is quoting from Isa 27:1-13, which is a beautiful Messianic Kingdom passage describing Israel after they repent and cry out for the Lord to return to them (Zec 12:10-22). It is describing the Jewish people in the diaspora being regathered to Israel for blessing in the Messianic Kingdom. The Messianic Kingdom context begins in Chapter 25 of Isaiah and carries forward for several chapters.

Isa 25:6-8 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-- the best of meats and the finest of wines. (7) On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; (8) he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people's disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.

Isa 27:12-13 In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, Israel, will be gathered up one by one. (13) And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

Attributing this passage to the General Resurrection does not fit the context of Mat 24:31. That context is the Jewish people being gathered into the Messianic Kingdom. Isa 25-27 and Mat 24:31 are all referring to the same event, the regathering of the Jewish people to Jerusalem for the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom. The usage of this passage to support a Post-Trib General Resurrection is a clear example of taking a passages out of it's context to support a presupposed theological conclusion.

The Elect

Another point of contention in this passage is the definition of "the elect". Post-Trib followers will argue that the elect are all believers from all times. However, scripture shows that "elect" are defined by the context of the passage it is found in. In the case of Mat 24:31, the "elect" are believing Jewish people being gathered into the Messianic Kingdom for blessing.

Other examples of how "the elect" are used can be found in Rom 11:7, where the elect are believers of "the people of Israel". Peter refers to the Jewish exiles of the diaspora as the elect as well.

Rom 11:7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened,

1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,

Certain angels are also referred to as "elect angels".

1Ti 5:21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

Scripture also refers to all believers as the elect in certain passages.

2Ti 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

The definition of "the elect" is clearly defined by it's context. In the case of Mat 24:31, based on the quotation of Jesus from Isaiah 27, the elect in this context are Jewish believers, not all believers from all times.

Gathering by Jesus or by Angels

Post-Trib doctrine holds that all people are gathered for the General Resurrection by the angels. Post-Trib believers again use Mat 24:31 to support this, carrying this method of gathering people for the General Resurrection to Dan 12:2 and Rev 20:4. Again, this use of Mat 24:31 introduces a contradiction that cannot be resolved.

The passage that speaks of the Rapture explicitly states that Jesus Himself will "come down from heaven"

1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

This is a direct contradiction with the improper use of Mat 24:31 which states that Jesus "will send His angels" to do the gathering.

Mat 24:31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Either Jesus Himself comes down from heaven, or He sends the angels down from heaven, it can't be both.

Where is Jesus During the Gathering

Jesus Is On Earth Before the General Resurrection

Post-Trib believers see the General Resurrection occurring while Jesus is on earth. Jesus returns to earth near the end of the Tribulation period, and He Himself ends the Great Tribulation, while on earth. There are several passages that show Jesus on earth before the Tribulation comes to an end.

Rev 17:12-14 shows that the the war between "the ten kings" along with "the beast", who are physical earthly beings, wage war against the Lamb. The 10 kings and the beast are on earth, and the campaign of Armageddon takes place on earth. Jesus is the victor in this war, and wins the victory while He is present on earth.

Rev 17:12-14 "The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. (13) They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. (14) They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

Rev 19:19 also refers to "the beast and the kings of the earth" being "gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and His army", which is further corroboration that Jesus is on earth before the end of the Tribulation.

Rev 19:19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army.

Ezekiel in a passage that is describing the judgment of the Tribulation events affecting Israel states that Israel will be brought "into the wilderness of the nations" where Jesus will meet them "face to face". Jesus brings the Israelites "from the countries where you have been scattered" and He will "bring them to the wilderness of the nations" and meet them "face to face". This can only happen on earth unless the passage is highly allegorized.

Eze 20:33-38 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will reign over you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. (34) I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered--with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. (35) I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you. (36) As I judged your ancestors in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign LORD. (37) I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. (38) I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Zechariah also refers to this battle between the Lord and the nations. Jesus will "go out and fight against the nations" and "on that day His feed will stand on the Mount of Olives". Another clear indication that Jesus is on earth dealing with the latter days of the Tribulation before any resurrection occurs.

Zec 14:1-5 A day of the LORD is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls. (2) I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. (3) Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. (4) On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. (5) You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

The General Resurrection Occurs After the Tribulation

The purpose of the General Resurrection is to gather the people for judgment. Post-Trib doctrine states that the Bema, Sheep and Goat, Wheat and Tare judgments are all one single concurrent event. There are some who even include the Great White Throne Judgment in this single judgment.

This judgment following the General Resurrection necessarily takes place after the Tribulation has been concluded. Since Post-Trib followers consider the Bema Judgment to follow the General Resurrection, it would not be possible to perform this judgement based on "deeds performed in the body" until after all those deeds have been concluded and the Tribulation period has ended.

2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Paul reveals in this passage that He will judge nothing before it's time, and that He will come, and at the time He comes, the Judgement will ensue, again, necessarily following the conclusion of the Tribulation period.

1Co 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

Mat 25:31-32 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. (32) All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Jud 1:14-15 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones (15) to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

Jesus Comes From Heaven for the Rapture

The contradiction in this section is between the Rapture passage and the resurrection passages. The passages discussed so far show that Jesus is on earth before the Tribulation is concluded, and that the resurrection take place afterwards. However, the passages that speak of the Rapture claims that Jesus "Himself will come down from heaven".

The conflict is if Jesus has already been on earth for a significant period of time when the gathering occurs, He can't be said to come from heaven since He is already here on earth.

1Th 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Either Jesus comes from the earth, or He comes from heaven for the gathering. He can't be in both places.

The Destiny of the Gathered

Another contradiction raised by the Post-Trib doctrine is between passages describing the raising as removing the wicked from the earth, or removing the righteous from the earth.

The passages that deal with the Rapture describe the righteous being removed from the earth. 1Th 4:17 clearly indicates that those being removed from the earth are the righteous, as they "will be with the Lord forever".

1Th 4:17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Additional passages that Post-Trib believers use to support a General Resurrection however show that it is the wicked that are removed from earth, and the righteous remain on earth and experience the arrival of the Messianic Kingdom.

Mat 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

This passage is corroborated by the parable of the Wheat and Tares which illustrates the Sheep and Goat judgment. The "barn" in this parable is the Messianic Kingdom of Mat 25:34.

Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"

Meantime, the wicked are removed from earth and sent to the "eternal fire prepared for the devil".

Mat 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

There is a direct contradiction between the 1Th 4:17 passage and the Mat 25:34 and Mat 25:41 passages. Either the righteous are removed from earth, or they remain to enter the Messianic Kingdom, it can't be both. This clearly shows that the Rapture cannot be conflated with the resurrections that occur following the Tribulation. The passages show two differing events.


These are just a few of the contradictions introduced by the Post-Trib General Resurrection doctrine. Other authors have mentioned additional contradictions as well.

The Bible Teaches Two Future Comings - James C. Morris

Biblical doctrine that establishes contradictions between scripture cannot be true doctrine, as the Bible does not contradict itself. Great care and additional study should be undertaken when considering contradicting doctrines, and the Post-Trib doctrine is no exception.

1 comment:

  1. Jesus is not in the Messianic Kingdom yet, you appear to be referring to the doctrine of A-Millennialism, which itself is full of contradictions.