First Thessalonians, chapter 4, verses 13-18 is the seminal teaching on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church and should be studied in conjunction with John 14:1-3; and 1st Corinthians 15:51-54. Don't try to over-analyze it outside of the Apostle Paul's words.
Paul did not want these new Christians to be ignorant (uninformed) concerning the Rapture phase of the Lord's Second Coming. Likewise, we still can find great comfort in Paul's words despite the disinformation, chatter, static, and confusion out there. There are so many novice voices in the wilderness today seeking to lead you astray and proclaiming their own message of "Yea, hath God said?" They think they are wise but really they are fools believing their own vain platitudes.
Invariably those that reject the Pre-Tribulation / Pre-Millennial Rapture base their beliefs upon Jesus' words found in the Olivet Discourse, particularly the portion of Matthew 24:29-31. Time and again the Pre-Trib opponents always come back to Matthew 24:29-31. Opponents of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture are quick to point out Jesus words, "Immediately after the tribulation........" as some sort of 'slam-dunk' to support their argument that the Tribulation precedes or comes before the Rapture. Do not fret you Pre-Tribbers, there is more to the story of Matthew 24:29-31 than even you know!
Even the "Pre-Wrath Rapture Babble site" where they begin with Matthew 24:29-31 which appears in every one of their posts that there is no seven-year rapture. They 'headline' that statement in their web posts. They call the Pre-Trib Rapture a lie, and support there case with the likes of theologians such as John Little of The Omega Shock Letter. Do you remember his qualifications?; he has an MBA degree, a beautiful wife, etc.. Another blow-hard that suffers from too much flatulence. He uses the Matthew 24:29-31 argument to "proof-text" his case and isn't even open to real scholarship insights. I tried last year but he would not listen to my points. They keep on piling one set of half-baked know-it-all hacks after another, and continue further on by attacking the Five Doves and our host. I have never once seen our host brag on how many followers 'Five Doves' has, but the "Pre-Wrath Rapture Babble" host lets us know every day boasting how many love him on social media Facebook. He never lets us forget it. But in his fake humility he thanks God for giving him more (my words - "lambs") for slaughter. The believers that follow their sensationalism 'tabloid-type-journalism' are surely deceived, especially with the recent 'flat-earth' posts. What nonsense! What crap! The host and wags at the "Pre-Wrath Rapture Babble" site a week or so ago were at it again, attacking Five Doves and our host over what he chooses to post. It's none of their damn business as to what another site does or does not post. I'm told their site censors what is posted or not, so I suggest he should stay in his own back yard of doo-doo!
I have a neighbor and a church member where I worship who flies for 'Mr. Brown' (U.P.S.); and he is an active Air Force Reserve (Lt.-Colonel) pilot out of the U.P.S. hub in Louisville, KY, flying C-130's. He is a 'born-again' Christian and I shared the "Pre-Wrath Rapture Babble site" with him on their recent [flat earth posts] to get his reaction to their flat-earther's posts. My neighbor had a belly laugh for nearly ten minutes. His comments were words to the effect, how come he hasn't seen it, since he has flown around the globe well over a thousand times, as chief officer/pilot of a huge U.P.S. cargo-jet aircraft, everything from Boeing 747, 757, 767, MD11, and AirBus 300-600 He asked what kind of looney would post such nonsense? Go figure as they say. But back to the importance of my post.
People who 'proof-text' their refuting the Pre-Trib Rapture by using Matthew 24:29-31 fail to recognize certain facts or note to their followers and reader's attention, and it is a huge "BUT" in the grand scheme of the Bible and understanding the Bible.
First, Matthew 24:29-31 has absolutely nothing to do with 1st Thessalonians 14:13-18. It is an issue of ignorance and erroneously comparing Scripture to an unrelated Scripture. I have been through this issue so often that I sometimes forget this basic point. This issue is more about hermeneutics and correctly comparing one book with another or the use of false logic and reasoning.
Secondly, Matthew was written before Thessalonians. The best scholarship in theological studies today note that several years elapsed between the writing of Matthew and Thessalonians. Also, Paul was in Asia Minor, many (roughly 700 to 800 miles) hundreds of miles northwest of Israel. Paul was not even in the area at the time of his missionary trips to Asia Minor or what is now known as the nation of Turkey.
Thirdly, the Gospel of Matthew (or Jesus' words) never quotes from Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, or for that matter, any of his other epistles. NOT ONCE! Then who does Matthew's Gospel quote from? And, why is that important at all? It is very important!
The only Bible available to the disciples and the locals in Israel that they could access were the Old Testament. The religious leaders had the Torah, the Psalms, and the Writings (prophets), and that's all!
The disciples who first heard Jesus' Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24 & 25), would have only known these documents, read by their rabbis. Thessalonians had not yet been written, and since the Old Testament was the only Bible they had, the answer is really pretty obvious.
Of the four Gospels, Matthew quotes the most from the Old Testament, and did so frequently. In fact, there are at least 40 direct quotes, and 60 references in total. So, I believe you would agree, it's natural to expect any reference to be from the Old Testament.
Can you identify which Old Testament book Jesus quoted most in Matthew's Gospel? It may come as a surprise to you, but Jesus quoted from Isaiah twenty times. If we look at the particular passage used by those rejecting the Pre-Tribulation Rapture - Matthew 24:29-31, Jesus quoted from Isaiah four times in the portion of Matthew 24:29-31. They are Isaiah 11:12; 27:12-13; 65:17; and 66:22. But note something else about this observation; sandwiched around these three verses we find there are references to Isaiah before Matthew 24:29 and following Matthew 24:35, for a total of six times. My point is that Matthew quotes Jesus' words that refer specifically to Isaiah, and NOT 1st Thessalonians.
This is a very important point because Matthew 24:29-31 DOES NOT SUPPORT the argument or a case against the Pre-Tribulation Rapture for the reasons previously noted. Absolutely, no way what-so-ever at all! You Pre-Tribbers can find comfort in these words!
Noting two points from the principles of hermeneutical studies: 1. The closest context of a Biblical passage best determines the meaning of the passage, and - 2. Scripture should interpret Scripture within the context.
Of the four Gospels, Matthew quotes the Old Testament more than Mark, Luke, or John. Of all the Old Testament books quoted by Jesus Christ, He quotes from the book of Isaiah the most. With 40 direct quotes and 60 additional references specifically are taken from Isaiah, the book the disciples would definitely have some knowledge of would be Isaiah. Deuteronomy with 13 quotes and Psalms with 9 quotes fill out the top three Old Testament books. Daniel would be 4th most quoted in Matthew's Gospel from which Jesus quoted.
Of all the chapters in Matthew, Isaiah has the most references quoted by the Lord. If you were to guess which chapter of Matthew has the most quotes from Isaiah, and you said Isaiah, you would be absolutely correct. The Olivet Discourse is the specific portion of Matthew 24 & 25 where Jesus taught His disciples about end time events. I noted above that of Matthew's twenty Isaiah references, 6 are found in Matthew 24. I will let you read the noted quote references for your self.
Pay close attention you Pre-Trib haters, especially you John Little, and the folks over at the site who have a vendetta for Five Doves and its host who keeps John Little and the other SDA heretics before their viewers.
This provides the reader of Matthew 24 & 25, that Jesus has set a backdrop to his message from the prophet Isaiah. His words are not in conflict with 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 because they had not been written at the time of the Olivet Discourse. Many theologians contend that Isaiah was written by two different authors (or is two different Isaiah's) because of the noticeable sharp transition in context following Isaiah 39. The fact is, Isaiah is but ONE book, but even more, Isaiah is an outline of the entire Bible. 'Eerdmans Publishing' in its scholarly commentary series (the New International Critical and Exegetical Commentary), published a two-volume work on Isaiah built on the format I am noting here. The author is Dr. John N. Oswalt, and his work back in the late 1980's was ranked #1 on the Old Testament book of Isaiah in terms of scholarship. One would be hard pressed to come up with an equal of Dr. Oswalt's stature and expertise. When I have questions on Isaiah, Dr. Oswalt is my source of seeking an answer.
Dr. Oswalt does not share this fact in his work as best I recall, but none the less it is cogent to show how God has used Isaiah's writings. Chapters 1-39 is an outline of the Old Testament: Genesis to Malachi; and, Isaiah chapters 40-66 is an outline of the New Testament: Matthew to Revelation.
I will give you a brief Bible lesson that I learned forty-five years ago by stating that the overarching theme of Isaiah, chapter 1 is an overview summary of the book of Genesis. Isaiah chapter 40 is an overview summary of the book of Matthew. This is true of every chapter of Isaiah! There is so much more to our Bible than what the "Pre-Wrath Rapture Babble site" offers its readers with rabbit chases in all directions, with Gnostic writings and Roman Catholic propaganda; the posts of Alan Lamont and Mike Hoggard excluded. I don't think they are aware their YouTube videos end up on the "Pre-Wrath Rapture Babble" site.
God has used the "Heptadic" feature to authenticate His Word. Man has messed with it such that today we can still claim the KJV Bible is still 98.2% true to the "Heptadic" DNA Signature of authentication. God did not want human counterfeits and by using the "Heptadic" Feature, God precluded counterfeits being claimed to be His Word! I don't give a lick if you don't like the KJV Bible, I can prove it is God's Word of Truth, particularly its Biblical manuscripts used to translate it into English.
The important point of this post is to point out in the slightly larger context of Matthew 24:24-35, Jesus quoted Isaiah from six different passages in Isaiah. The reader can search them out should they wish to do so. Dr. Oswalt's 2-volume commentary (over 1,500 pages) would be the first place to go. I certainly would not trust the teachings from a site that posts the flat-earther's, Gnostic teachings, and Roman Catholic propaganda of the Apocrypha, and boasts of its number of Facebook fans.
We can read all the commentaries in the world, but remember, it is Isaiah that illuminates Jesus' Olivet Discourse. Even if you were to point to a particular New Testament passage and say, "this is what Jesus meant", you could not prove the allusion. When Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 24:29-31, just these three verses, the New Testament was not even written and Jesus pointed to Isaiah. What book illuminates Matthew? Isaiah, first and foremost!
The bottom line of my post is Matthew 24:29-31 CANNOT SUPPORT the argument that the Church will have to go through some portion or all of the Tribulation. Nor does it state or support the view that Tribulation comes before the Rapture. Totally Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!. I would hope that those proof-texting Matthew 24:29-31 would be decent enough to admit they are wrong based upon the facts and evidence.
The 'Church' is not mentioned in the Gospels until Matthew 16:18. Furthermore, the Church was not birthed until Acts 2:47. Jesus had NO reason to reveal the 'Rapture' to the disciples or anyone else for that matter in the Olivet Discourse. That task was left to the Apostle Paul for another phase of God's Master plan of redemption. Remember that God reveals truth one step at a time, planting the seeds in Genesis, and ultimately displaying the full bloom of the flower in Revelation. My use of the seed/flower as a metaphor is essential in understanding God's unfolding revelation in general. Do not be deceived by the loonies at the pseudo-educational site I noted above. They are nothing more than fakes and so-called theologian want-to-be's esteemed by their fans at Facebook.
The New Testament really does not begin with the physical birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The New Testament begins with the Cross and the temple veil being "rent in twain from the top to the bottom" in Mark 15:38. The verse preceding, Mark 15:37 reads, "And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost".
Because Jesus Christ never said a great deal about the Church, its mission, purpose, plans, objectives, duration, or ending, why should it come as any big surprise that He offers little for us to ponder over the Rapture issue whatsoever? The Rapture was a "mystery" as Paul states in 1st Corinthians 15:51-52. That "mystery" remains veiled through typology, thematic patterns, overlaid within the context of the Feasts of Leviticus 23 for us to discover as Proverbs 25:2 states. The full extent of that event remains to be experienced by you and I. In many of my posts last year, I explained that for the reader. We have "types" and "shadows" of what good things are to come in our descriptive understanding. It [the Pre-Tribulation Rapture] is real, and becomes more tangible as we study the nuances of the writings of Paul.
When Paul said to be comforted by these words, he really meant it. Believers in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture can be comforted by the Apostle Paul's words of 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18. God does not lie or deceive or mislead us like the fools at a web site that daily boasts of how many read their site on Facebook. I'm surprised they don't post 'selfies' of themselves. But maybe not, given the utter absurdity they post like saying the Earth is flat. At the moment I can't think of anything more dishonoring to the God they claim to believe in! They do a bang up job of deceiving the reader enough now as it is already doing.
Keep looking up, eight months to Rosh HaShanah - September 13/14th, 2015!
"Comfort One Another With These Words!" Bet your life on a 7-year Pre-Tribulation Rapture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!