Is the Blessed Hope the Pre-Trib Rapture?

Blessed Hope Rapture
Table Of Contents

You may have heard the term the “blessed hope” at some point in your life. Many believe the blessed hope relates to the appearance of Christ in a Pre-Tribulation (Pre-Trib) Rapture.

We read about the blessed hope in Titus 2:11-13:

“(11) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”

Titus 2:13 links the blessed hope to the appearance of Christ. This begs the question: “When will Christ appear to realize the blessed hope?”

Pre-Trib Rapture teachers argue that the blessed hope will be fulfilled at the Day of Christ before the start of the tribulation. They argue that the Day of Christ is not the same as the Day of the Lord, which many believe will start after the tribulation. Therefore, our blessed hope can come at any time according to the Pre-Trib Rapture theory.

Will the blessed hope be realized at the appearance of Christ in a Pre-Trib Rapture? Is the Day of Christ different from the Day of the Lord? I will answer these questions and more in this article.

The Appearance of the Blessed Hope

As we have seen, the blessed hope relates to the appearance of Christ. We can glean much by looking at the Greek word used to denote the appearance of Christ in Titus 2:13. The Greek word used in that verse is epiphaneia. The emphasis of this word is on the splendor of Christ’s appearance.1

The word epiphaneia is found in several verses, including:

“And then shall that Wicked [the Antichrist] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness [epiphaneia] of his [Christ’s] coming:” (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

“(12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (13)  I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; (14) That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing [epiphaneia] of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (1 Timothy 6:12-14)

“(1) I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing [epiphaneia] and his kingdom; […] I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing [epiphaneia].” (2 Timothy 4:1, 7-8)

We can glean from these passages that the appearance of Christ will involve:

  • The demise of the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
  • The resurrection of the righteous dead and the rewarding of the righteous (2 Timothy 4:1, 7-8). This means that the resurrection of the dead will not take place before Christ appears.

The demise of the Antichrist will take place after the tribulation (Revelation 19:11-21, Daniel 7:24-26, 9:27). Does this mean that the resurrection of the dead will also be a post-tribulation event?

The Resurrection of the Dead

Daniel 11:40 onward tells us about the exploits of the Antichrist in the second half of the tribulation. Daniel 12:1-2 focuses on the great trouble the people of Israel will endure at that time. Daniel describes how the people of Israel will eventually be delivered and how many dead will rise to gain eternal life:

“(1) And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (2) And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”

Isaiah 26 also describes the trouble the people of Israel will face in the second half of the tribulation. Despite the trouble Israel will face, the Lord will the raise the righteous from the dead. He will raise the dead and destroy the wicked at the same time:

“(17) Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, Is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; So have we been in thy sight, O Lord. (18) We have been with child, we have been in pain, We have as it were brought forth wind; We have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; Neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. (19) Thy dead men shall live, Together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: For thy dew is as the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead. (20) Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, And shut thy doors about thee: Hide thyself as it were for a little moment, Until the indignation be overpast. (21) For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: The earth also shall disclose her blood, And shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:17-21)

The Demise of the Wicked

The demise of the wicked will take place after the tribulation.2 Christ spoke of the demise of the wicked at the time of His coming when He will also deal with the righteous:


The Demise of the Wicked at Christ’s Coming

  • The Righteous
  • The Wicked
  • Christ’s Coming

Matthew 13:30, 37-43: “(30) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. […] (37) He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Matthew 13:49-50: “(49) So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, (50) And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 24:37-39: “(37) But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (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.”

Luke 17:26-27: “(26) And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. (27) They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”

Matthew 24:29-31: “(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: (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.”


1 Corinthians 15 also covers the resurrection of the dead:3

“(23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (24) Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” (1 Corinthians 15:23-24)

The Parousia

1 Corinthians 15:23-24 tells us that the resurrection of the dead will take place at Christ’s coming. The Greek word for “coming” is parousia. The word parousia emphasizes Christ’s presence at His coming4 and appears in several end times passages.

Matthew 24:27-30 refers to the parousia of Christ after the tribulation:

“(27) For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be. (28) For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 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: (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.”

Similarly, the parousia of Christ will involve the destruction of the wicked after the tribulation:

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming [parousia] 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.” (Matthew 24:37-39)

2 Thessalonians indicates the parousia relates to the Day of Christ, which we will focus on later in this study. We will gather to Christ at His parousia; realizing the blessed hope:

“(1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2) 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.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)

We can glean from all these passages that the resurrection of the dead will take place after the tribulation. Christ will also destroy the wicked, including the Antichrist, at His coming.

The Judging of the Righteous

Recall that 2 Timothy 4 relates the judging of the righteous to Christ’s appearing and His kingdom:

“(1) I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; […] I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:1, 7-8)

We saw that the resurrection of the righteous dead will take place after the tribulation. Revelation 11 further confirms this timeline. Verses 11:15-18 tell us that the kingdom of God and Christ will be set up and the judging of the righteous dead will take place after the sounding of the 7th trumpet:

“(15) And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (16) And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, (17) Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. (18) And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”

The sounding of the 7th trumpet coincides with the end of the Antichrist’s kingdom after 42 months of reign in the second half of the tribulation (Revelation 13:5-7, Daniel 7:24-27).

Is there other evidence that the realization of the blessed hope will come after the tribulation?

Holding on to the Blessed Hope

Let’s think about having hope. Hope is a desire with an expectation that an event will take place in the future. For instance, we hope to see a loved one again when they are away on a business trip. We want to see our loved one again and we expect to see them again.

The blessed hope involves a desire to be with Christ and an expectation that we will be with Christ when He appears.

Holding on to hope involves an ongoing effort to have hope until the event arrives. We are encouraged in Titus 2 to have an ongoing expectation for the blessed hope. In other words, we are encouraged to hold on to hope for Christ’s appearance. This encouragement implies that we (Christians) will be present in the world until the realization of the blessed hope.

The End: Telos

We shall see that Christians will hold on to hope until the “end”. 1 Corinthians 1:7-8 refers to the “end” or the Greek word telos5:

(7) So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: (8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end [telos], that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Book of Hebrews also encourages us to have hope until telos arrives:

“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end [telos].” (Hebrews 3:6)

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end [telos];” (Hebrews 3:14)

“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end [telos]:” (Hebrews 6:11)

Telos is found in several end time passages, including:

  • Matthew 24:6, 13-14
  • Mark 13:12-14
  • 1 Corinthians 15:23-24
  • Revelation 2:25-27

Revelation 2 and Matthew 24 call on believers to endure through difficulties until telos arrives:

“(25) But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. (26) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end [telos], to him will I give power over the nations: (27) And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.” (Revelation 2:25-27)

“(9) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. (10) And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (11) And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (12) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (13) But he that shall endure unto the end [telos], the same shall be saved. (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 [telos] come.” (Matthew 24:9-14)

The righteous saved at the telos are the Elect, the followers of Christ, that will endure the tribulation (Matthew 24:21-24):

“(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: (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.” (Matthew 24:29-31)

These passages provide more evidence that Christians will be present during the tribulation. They will hold on to the blessed hope in the midst of great difficulty.

The Day of Christ

The Apostle Paul connects the Rapture of the Church, the realization of the blessed hope, to the Day of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2:

“(1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2) 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.”

Pre-Trib Rapture teachers argue that the Day of Christ and the Day of the Lord are different events. They claim:

  • The Day of Christ focuses on gathering of the Church and the rewarding of the Church. This will take place before the tribulation.
  • The Day of the Lord is mainly a time of judgment for the wicked. This will take place after the Day of Christ.

In other words, the Day of the Lord and the Day of Christ are: Two different events. Two different focuses. Two different times.

We have seen overwhelming evidence that the blessed hope will be realized after the tribulation. Can we really link the Day of Christ to the end of the tribulation? Let’s look at some references to the Day of Christ.

We learn in Philippians 1:6 that the sanctification process will be complete at the Day of Christ.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

This means that the Church will be present on Earth until the Day of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:7-8 reminds us that the Day of Christ will arrive at the time of telos:

“(7) So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: (8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end [telos], that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We have already seen that telos will come after the Church endures a time of great difficulty. This means that the Day of Christ will come after a time of great difficulty.

Philippians 1:10 records the Apostle Paul’s prayer for believers to be without offense until the Day of Christ:

“That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;”

This prayer parallels prayers recorded in 1 Thessalonians that speak of the parousia of Christ:

“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:13)

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ.”(1 Thessalonians 5:23)

The similar prayers mean that the Day of Christ will coincide with the parousia of Christ and that the Church will continue on Earth until the parousia of Christ.

We have seen in previous sections that the parousia of Christ will start after the tribulation:

“(1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2) 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.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)

“(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: (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.” (Matthew 24:29-31)

The signs mentioned in Matthew 24:29 are important to note. These signs will arise just before the start of the Day of the Lord (also see Revelation 6:11-17):

“(30) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, (31) Before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” (Joel 2:30-31)

As a result, we can expect the Day of the Lord signs to appear just before the parousia of Christ, and thereby the Day of Christ.

Therefore, we can conclude that the Day of Christ will take place at the same time as the Day of the Lord. The difference in terminology likely reflects different aspects of Christ’s coming.

  • The Day of Christ focuses on gathering of the Church and the rewarding of the Church.
  • The Day of the Lord emphasizes the judgment of the wicked.

“That Day Shall Not Come”

We saw that 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 connects the Day of Christ to the Rapture of the Church. The teachers of the Pre-Trib Rapture insist that the Rapture can come at any time. The evidence shown in this study shows that the Rapture will not take place until after the tribulation.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 confirms that the Rapture cannot take place at any moment. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 states that we need to first see a falling away (rise of apostasy) and the unveiling of the Antichrist:

“(1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2) 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. (3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Even though it will not be easy, we need to remain hopeful until Christ’s parousia. We need to remain patient:

“(7) Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming [parousia] of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. (8) Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming [parousia] of the Lord draweth nigh.” (James 5:7-8)

Answering Objections

I want to end this article by answering some objections that some Pre-Trib Rapture teachers may have to this article.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

Some cite 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 as evidence for a Pre-Trib Rapture. However, this passage says nothing direct about the timing of the Rapture. The passage only affirms that the Rapture will take place in the future:

“(15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (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: (17) 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. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)

We see that the gathering to meet the Lord referred to in verse 17 is the same gathering described in 2 Thessalonians 2, which we saw will take after the tribulation.

Also, the resurrection of the dead will place before the gathering of the righteous living (verse 17). We saw that the resurrection of the dead will take place at the same time Christ comes to destroy the wicked after the tribulation.

We can infer from these facts that 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 describes a Post-Trib Rapture.

Not Subject to Wrath

Some may object to the idea that the Church will face end time persecution because we are to be delivered from the wrath to come. Indeed, the Bible teaches we will not endure “wrath”:

“(9) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, (10) Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

“(8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10)

“(9) For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; (10) And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)”

However, few know that the Greek language distinguishes between different types of wrath mainly through the use of the words orge and thumos. The Bible is clear that we are spared from orge wrath. I prove that orge wrath will not arise on Earth until the end of the tribulation in my article: “The Rapture & the End Time Wrath of God We Avoid”.

No Man Knows the Day or Hour

Many Pre-Trib Rapture teachers like to cite Matthew 24:36, which states:

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

I have an entire article that addresses this verse. To see my explanation, read my article “Matthew 24:36 and the Timing of the Rapture”.

Revelation 3:10

Many Pre-Trib Rapture teachers cite Revelation 3:10 as evidence that God will remove the Church before the tribulation:

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

Revelation 3:10 does not promise the physical removal of the Church from the tribulation. The verse promises that the Church of Philadelphia will be kept safe. However, the Church of Philadelphia can remain safe in midst of danger as God protected the Israelites when the plagues of Egypt took place around them. See my full explanation in my article: “Does Revelation 3:10 Promise a Pre-Trib Rapture?

Further Resources

If you still believe that the Pre-Trib Rapture is true, I want to encourage you to please consider reading my article: Luke 17:37: The Most Overlooked Prophecy? Luke 17:37 is perhaps the most overlooked Bible prophecy verse in the entire Bible. A full study of the verse could transform your view of the Rapture.

I also encourage you to read my article “Will Christians See the Antichrist?” In this article, I take a further look at 2 Thessalonians 2 and compare the chapter with end time passages not referenced in this article.

Finally, please consider my article “The Great Commission & End Time Prophecy.” I explore an overlook aspect of the Great Commission which heavily implies that the Church will be on Earth through the tribulation.

Will Christ Return Soon?

The Bible promises us that Christ will return. Learn which upcoming dates are possible in my latest book Prophecy Proof Insights on the Last Generation.

Notes

  1. Strong, James. “epiphaneia”. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. New York, Cincinnati, Eaton & Mains; Jennings & Graham, 1890. G2015.
  2. Isaiah 25 focuses on many developments that will take place after the tribulation. The chapter speaks of the resurrection of the dead in verse 8.
  3. We can look to Revelation 20:4 and Revelation 6:9-11 for additional evidence that the resurrection of the dead will not take place before the tribulation. Revelation 20:4 places the 5th seal martyrs, believers killed during the great tribulation, as part of the first resurrection of the dead.
  4. Strong, James. “parousia”. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. New York, Cincinnati, Eaton & Mains; Jennings & Graham, 1890. G3952.
  5. Strong, James. “telos”. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. New York, Cincinnati, Eaton & Mains; Jennings & Graham, 1890. G5056.

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