Logical Proof for the Timing of the Rapture
Logic Proof for the
Timing of the Rapture
By William Frederick, M.Div.
This article is an adaptation from
THE COMING EPIPHANY
AN EPIPHANY WILL COME TO ALL!
HAVE YOU HAD YOURS YET?
[Ed Note: The following article is a different view of the timing of the rapture from what we normally present as a pre-tribulational event. We do however, find this article to present an interesting alternative viewpoint to the pre-trib position. While we, at A-O are pre-trib in our views, we believe no position on the timing of the rapture should be allowed to be dogmatic. Thus, from time to time, we do post articles on the Rapture issue with differing viewpoints. We do so in the interests of understanding all sides of the issue and is not necessarily an endorsement or a switch in our views but a recognition that we all need to understand the alternative theories.]
The sun is suddenly darkened, the moon glows the color of blood, the ground shakes violently, the sky splits and rolls away like a scroll, and the stars fall. Grown men run frantically to and fro, screaming like babies, trying to find somewhere to hide, while others just faint from terror.
It is at this time that all the people of the world will have an epiphany. The epiphany will occur at the yet future event known as the Day of the Lord, which is mentioned many times in scripture. It is even the subject matter of the entire book of Joel. Many parts of scripture have whole paragraphs devoted to the topic. Understanding the Day of the Lord is foundational to a proper understanding of all biblical end-times prophecy. First, we need to come to an understanding of the essential nature of what this future event entails. Mr. Showers describes its essence beautifully.
The Day of the Lord refers to God's special interventions into the course of world events to judge His enemies, accomplish His purpose for history, and thereby demonstrate who He is--the sovereign God of the universe.
This time of God’s special intervention known primarily as The Day of the Lord has been referred to by other terms in scripture such as: The Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jer 30:7); His Strange Work/Act (Is 28:21); The Day of Israel’s Calamity (Deu 32:35); The Indignation (Isa. 26:20; Dan. 11:36); The Overflowing Scourge (Isa. 28:15, 18); The Day of Vengeance (Isa. 34:8; 35:4; 61:2); The Day of Wrath/Distress/Wasteness/Desolation (Zep. 1:15); The Day of Darkness/Thick Darkness/Gloominess (Zep 1:15, Joel 2:2); The Day of Trumpet and Alarm (Zep 1:16); The hour of trial (Rev 3:10); The Wrath to Come (1 Thes 1:10); The Wrath (1 Thes 5:9) the Hour of His Judgment (Rev 14:7). In some instances the Day of the Lord due to its unique nature has been referred to as simply “that day” (Isa. 2:11, 17; 2:20; 4:2; Joel 3:18; Mark 13:32; Luke 21:34; 2Ti. 1:12, 18; 4:8).
In relation to the events of the last seven years on earth, the yet future Day of the Lord can be characterized as a time of wrath and vengeance poured out upon mankind for their wickedness. As it says in Isa. 2:10-22:
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…and the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth…To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Many passages concerning the Day of the Lord speak not only of a past fulfillment but also a future fulfillment. These double reference passages can be difficult to interpret. However upon reading them it is clearly evident that the yet future Day of the Lord has not occurred yet. Scripture also makes it clear that there is only one Day of the Lord that is yet to come. “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land.” (Hag 2:6) “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” (Heb 12:26) The passage from Hebrews tells us, in reference to the Mount Sinai occurrence, that it was the voice of the Lord that shook the earth and that the shaking of the earth from the Lord’s voice will happen only once more. The Isaiah 2 passage listed above tells us that this will occur during the Day of the Lord, “when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” This yet future one remaining great Day of the Lord—when God will shake the heavens and the earth—is the time in which God’s wrath will be poured out upon men and they will be so afraid, as we read in the Isaiah passage, that they will try to hide themselves in the clefts of the rocks because of their fear of the Lord and the glory of His majesty. At that time, all men will be humbled and God will be exalted. Isaiah again describes it as a day of destruction, fierce anger, and wrath; and again echoes that men will be terrified during this time. They will experience extreme anguish like they have never experienced before:
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. 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. (Isaiah 13:6-13)
The Day of the Lord, and its alternative term the Day of Christ, are both listed in Thessalonians and reveal to us what will occur synonymously with the beginning of the Day of the Lord. Read carefully the next two passages and answer the question: What event is synonymous with the Day of the Lord or the Day of Christ?
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. 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. 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. (1 Thes. 4:15-5:2)
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 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 Thes. 2:1–2)
What event is Paul referring to in these verses that he says will happen at the Day of the Lord—the Day of Christ? What event comes as a thief in the night? “And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Lk 12:39,40) What event were the Thessalonians afraid that they had missed because they thought they were now living in the Day of the Lord? In both passages Paul is referring to the rapture and it is clear from these passages that the event that is synonymous with the Day of the Lord is the rapture! 1 Thessalonians 4:15 – 5:2 describes the rapture and then goes on to make the association of the rapture with the Day of the Lord. Let me put the two parts of 1 Thes. 4:15-5:2 together so you can see this more clearly:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
This passage indicates that the rapture occurs at the Day of the Lord event. In 2 Thessalonians, the rapture is again described, but here it is called the Day of Christ: “By the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him…the day of Christ.” Here clearly the rapture is called the Day of Christ. The phrase the Day of Christ is synonymous with the phrase the Day of the Lord.
It should be said that the formula, “The day of Christ,” occurs in our translation in 2 Thes 2:2, but that all the church fathers who quote the text have, “day of the Lord.” The same is all but universally true of all the manuscripts. Thus the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the latter reading, and we may add, the internal evidence apparently requires this reading.
Both of these passages in Thessalonians tell us that the rapture will occur in the time period known as the Day of the Lord. Thus, if our logic is correct then it stands to reason that since the Day of the Lord or the Day of Christ occurs after the opening of the sixth seal, and the rapture occurs at the Day of the Lord, then the rapture must also occur after the opening of the sixth seal!
Let me now present a formal proof of this reasoning. For purposes of our proof, we will use the following symbols and meanings.
Day of the Lord
Moon turns to blood
Means those events happen at the same time.
Means that the first event happens after the second.
Using those symbols, we can then create the following logic statements and proof:
I Thes 4:15 – 5:2
If our premises are true then we have just formally proved that the rapture occurs after the sixth seal is opened. Unless you are familiar with mathematical proofs, you probably did not understand the statements and conclusion. So let me explain it more fully;
Day of the Lord occurs after moon to blood. (Acts 2:20)
Rapture occurs during Day of the Lord. (I Thes 4:15 – 5:2)
Moon is turned to blood at sixth seal. (Rev 6:12)
Therefore the rapture occurs after the sixth seal is opened.
Statements 1, 2, and 3 are our scriptural premises. In Statement 1, if you replace the D with the R, and the B with the S, which you can do by the mathematical law of substitution because D & R and B & S happen at the same time, then you arrive at Statement 4, which says that R > S—the rapture occurs after the sixth seal is opened. Thus, the three scriptural premises (the rapture occurs during the Day of the Lord, the moon is turned to blood after the sixth seal is opened, and the Day of the Lord occurs after the moon is turned to blood) logically leads us to conclude that the rapture occurs after the moon is turned to blood. If the premises are true then deductive reasoning has now formally proved this.
Deductive reasoning is an argument to establish that a statement is absolutely certain. An argument is valid if the reasoning proceeds logically from the premises to the conclusion. An argument is sound if it is valid and the premises are true. 
If our premises are true then we have used deductive reasoning to prove that the statement “the rapture occurs after the sixth seal is opened” is absolutely certain. This argument is valid because it proceeds logically, as shown above, from the premises to the conclusion. The argument is sound if it is valid—which it is—and if the premises (that the rapture occurs during the Day of the Lord, the moon is turned to blood after the sixth seal is opened, and the Day of the Lord occurs after the moon is turned to blood) are true. There is no way around it if the premises are true then the rapture occurs after the sixth seal is opened. Again if the premises are true then scripture clearly tells us that the rapture will not occur before the start of the last seven years—the seventieth week—or what is commonly called “the tribulation.” But that the rapture will, however, occur during the 70th Week after the sixth seal is opened and simultaneous with the beginning of Day of the Lord. Let’s state it one more time:
The Day of the Lord occurs after the moon is turned to blood.
The rapture occurs during the Day of the Lord.
The moon is turned to blood after the sixth seal is opened.
Therefore if the premises above are true then rapture occurs after the sixth seal is opened.
Some object to this reasoning saying that the rapture does not occur after the moon is turned to blood because there are 2 Days of the Lord yet to come. One occurs at the rapture before the seventieth week, and one at Armageddon. They then conclude that Acts 2:20 and Joel 2:31 are in reference to the Day of the Lord that will occur at Armageddon. This reasoning is in error because if you remember our discussion about the essence of the Day of the Lord we established the fact that there is only one Day of the Lord left. “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” (Heb 12:26) The Day of the Lord is when the earth will be shaken and there is only one Day of the Lord yet to occur.
Still others object to this reasoning saying that the rapture is not part of the Day of the Lord but happens before the Day of the Lord and not during it. Many stanch pre-trib commentators believe that the rapture is part of the Day of the Lord.
He must explain what he means by “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him” or else the solution to the problem cannot be grasped. Episynagoges (“being gathered”) defines what part of the parousias (“coming”) Paul has in mind. This is the great event he has described more fully in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17—i.e., the gathering of those in Christ to meet him in the air enroute to the Father in heaven. This begins the day of the Lord… He had told them that the coming of the Lord to gather his saints into heaven would initiate both the tribulation and the day of the Lord. They were promised immediate “rest” (1:7) and glorification with Christ (1:10), not increased persecution…Despite their “persecutions and trials” (1:4) these Thessalonian Christians were not living in the day of the Lord as they had been erroneously told. A right understanding of “being gathered to him” reveals that they could not be so enmeshed, because for them Christ’s parousia will antedate the awful period to come. In fact, their “being gathered to him” will be the event that signals the day’s beginning.
Also as discussed earlier, and expounded upon by Mr. Keathley—a pre-trib author—2 Thes 2:2 clearly tells us that the rapture is part of the Day of the Lord and is the event that starts it. Therefore in reference to the logic proof: if the premises are valid and the argument is sound then the proof stands; the rapture occurs after the sixth seal is opened. In fact many other scriptures confirm this…
AN EPIPHANY WILL COME TO ALL!
HAVE YOU HAD YOURS YET?
Read THE COMING EPIPHANY today!
 Renald E. Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995), 38.
 This law observes the fact that often a passage or a block of Scripture is speaking of two different persons or two different events which are separated by a long period of time. In the passage itself they are blended into one picture, and the time gap between the two persons or two events is not presented by the text itself. The fact that a gap of time exists is known because of other Scriptures. . .( Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003) 4.)
 Smith, J.B. A Revelation of Jesus Christ. Mennonite Publishing House. Scottdale, Pa. 1961. p.321
 Tagliapietra Ron and Pilger Kathy, Geometry for Christian Schools. Greenville SC: BJU Press, 2000. pp. 182-3.
 Many Post-trib adherents agree with the logic and conclusion that the rapture occurs after the sixth seal is opened. However they place the occurrence of the sixth seal at the end of the 70th week by claiming that the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments overlap. This notion is easily shown to be false by realizing that scripture presents the seal, bowl, and trumpet judgments as proceeding chronologically. Also Rev 7:2,3 “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” tells us that the earth and sea cannot be hurt, which happens in the trumpet and bowl judgments, until after the sealing of the 144,000. The sealing of the 144,000 happens after the rapture and the 6th seal. Therefore the trumpet and bowl judgments cannot occur until after the 6th seal is opened. Thus the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments cannot overlap.
There are some pre-trib adherents that also agree that the rapture occurs at the sixth seal but place the sixth seal at the start of the seventieth week. This notion is also shown to be false by realizing that one of the signs that must occur before the Day of the Lord—as previously discussed in The Coming Epiphany—is that the antichrist must set himself up as god, which occurs at the abomination of desolation, which happens at the midpoint of the seventieth week. Thus the opening of the sixth seal and the day of the Lord must occur after the midpoint of the seventieth week.
 Many pre-trib commentators agree that the rapture is part of the Day of the Lord; Coffman, Matthew Henry, La Haye, to name a few.
 Keathley, J Hampton, III Th.M. Correction Concerning the Day of the Lord Part 1. http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=1696#P336_80025
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