The Unmysterious Timing of the Rapture 

Chapter 6 of Reclaiming of Rapture : The Unmysterious Timing of the Rapture 

The timing of the rapture (the gathering) is not a mystery. Scripture repeatedly says in plain and simple language that it will occur immediately after the tribulation of those days…He 

will send out his angels to gather His elect. Matt. 24:29-31 The prophets, Jesus, and the disciples plainly tell us the timing; we need not look to shadows and types in Scripture nor to the Jewish wedding feast, nor any other complex reasoning in order to deduce it – it will happen after the tribulation of those days. The goal of this chapter is to show the overwhelming amount of Scripture which plainly speaks of the timing of the resurrection, rapture, and return of the Lord. 

The terms “rapture” and “gathering” will be used interchangeably since “rapture” is used only once to describe this event; the more common term is “gathering”. Paul uses this term interchangeably with rapture in Second Thess. 2:1, Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him… 

It is my belief that many cannot see this (including myself formerly) because they believe that God started a new and different program with “the Church,” and that He put His promises to Israel on hold until the time of the last seven years of this age. However, from Genesis 12 to the last page of Revelation the story is all about the descendants (both physical and spiritual) of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Consequently, the resurrection and rapture directly pertain to Israel. God will graciously include the Gentiles in these events because, as Paul stated; 

You, once Gentiles…were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise…Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Eph. 2:12, 13, 15, 16 19 

This means that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel. Eph. 3:6. This is true because there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Col. 3:11 

The bottom line is, the gathering/rapture will include all who have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17) whether they are Jewish or Gentile. 

The missing link in understanding the rapture is, in my opinion, the restoration of the two houses of Judah and Israel. There are dozens of verses which speak specifically about the two houses, yet somehow the fact that the prophets mentioned these houses by name has been overlooked by popular theologians. 

The ability to recognize the plethora of Bible verses about the resurrection and rapture requires a basic understanding of who will be resurrected, raptured, and gathered. A full discussion of the scattering of Israel, and the identity of the God fearing people who would become the Gentile church, is beyond the scope of this book. Suffice it to say that there is a household of God (according to Paul’s definition above) of which the Gentiles have become fellow citizens. The Gathering will be the time when Jesus will gather all of His people who have been scattered. 

It is my hope that this book will bring clarity and show how straightforward the passages concerning this event are. There was a time I could not see what I am now teaching. It was not until I demanded to see the actual verses for the timing of the Pre- Tribulation rapture that I found there were none. And no one else could find any verses either. Once I was willing to reconsider the rapture paradigm, I discovered that despite this fact, there are many people who maintain that it will come before the time of Jacob’s trouble; and yet they cannot give even one verse to prove their timing. 

Consider, for example, the popular Pre-Tribulation defender Mark Hitchcock. Hitchcock correctly states in his book, The End, that there is no verse! “While no single verse says Jesus is coming to rapture his saints before the seven-year Tribulation, there are clear statements that He is coming to deliver His people from the coming wrath.”27 (emphasis mine) 

The reality is that God plainly revealed the timing of the resurrection and the gathering (rapture) through the prophets Isaiah, Daniel, and others. 

Isaiah 26:19-21 Resurrection/Rapture/Second Coming 

Let’s start with the earliest, and perhaps the clearest, passage we have. Isaiah 26:19-21 contains the resurrection, rapture, and return of the Lord. This passage will serve as our standard by which all other prophetic passages will be measured. (Key words are highlighted to make the comparison with other passages easier.) 

Your dead shall live; 

Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; 

For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; 

Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, 

Until the indignation [ָֽז עם za’am] is past. 

For behold, the LORD comes out of His place 

To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, 

And will no more cover her slain. Isa. 26:19-21 

The phrase “Your dead shall live” is the resurrection, plain and simple. Those sleeping in the dust, God says, will awake and sing. The prophet Daniel was also promised (Dan. 12:2) that he would arise to his inheritance at the end of the days. Dan. 12:13 Likewise, Martha confessed that her brother Lazarus would rise on the last day (John 11:24). 

The resurrection is also pegged after the time of trouble when Michael “shall stand up”. 

At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, 

Every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Dan. 12:1, 2 

This time of trouble is apparently a reference to a conflict between the angel Michael and Satan in Revelation 12. 

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Rev. 12:7-9 

The conflict between Michael and Satan is 3 ½ years before the return of Jesus. According to Revelation 12:14, Satan will attempt to destroy the Woman (Israel) but she will be protected for a time, times, and half a time, or 3 ½ years. This time of protection concurs with Daniel 12:1 which says, and at that time your people shall be delivered. The resurrection then follows the time of great trial; it does not precede it, as taught by the Pre-Tribulation rapture doctrine. 

The Rapture (Gathering and Hiding Away) 

The resurrection is then followed by God inviting His people to enter their chambers, shut the doors and hide for a bit until His indignation is past. Just as the apostle Paul said that the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up…1 Thess. 4:16-17. Why does God invite them to enter into chambers and hide? He tells them to do so because He is coming “out of His place to punish inhabitants of the earth”! Thus according to Isaiah, the resurrection will occur, followed by the rapture (gathering and hiding away) which is necessary because God Himself is coming out of his place with great indignation. 

In Isaiah 13:4-5 we read that the nations are gathered in the mountains and that “the LORD of hosts musters the army for battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven– The LORD 

and His weapons of indignation [ָֽז עם za’am], to destroy the whole 

land. The indignation spoken of is the same word used in Isaiah 26 – this is the day of the Lord, also known as the second coming of Jesus. 

On that day people will wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Isa. 13:6 As a result of His coming, all hands will be limp; every man’s heart will melt. And they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; they will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; they will be amazed at one another; their faces will be like flames. Isa. 13:7-8 Jesus said that all the nations will wail at his return (Matt. 24:30). Both Isaiah and John mention that they will run into the caves of the rocks and call on them to fall on them and hide them from the face of God, which we will discuss in more detail later. 

This indignation [ָֽז עם za’am] is the reason that God calls His 

people to enter into their chambers and hide for a moment until it is passed. As we read in Isaiah 13:9, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it.” It will also be that the “stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine,” Isa. 13:10 in that day when He returns. 

Jesus reiterated all of these details while adding just a bit of His own flair; everything Jesus (and later the disciples) said about the resurrection, rapture, and return had already been mentioned in the Scriptures (the Tanakh28). It is important to understand that they were not adding new doctrines; they were simply reiterating (and sometimes elaborating on) what God had already revealed previously. If there were any questions in anyone’s mind as to when the rapture would happen, Jesus stated plainly that it will come after the tribulation. He was drawing upon the words of Isaiah. 

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matt. 24:29, 30 

As mentioned before, the reason they will mourn is because the Day of the Lord has come. In Chapter 2, Isaiah describes the time of tribulation that is coming upon the whole earth in the “latter days” (Isa. 2:2) because God Himself was coming to shake the earth. 

God revealed to Isaiah that people would Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty. The message is reiterated in verses 19 and 21 to demonstrate its certainty; and the timing is given precisely when men will go into hiding: 

They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. Isa. 2:19, 21 

We then have another witness from the book of Revelation which is exactly parallel to Isaiah’s: And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. Rev. 6:15 

The kings, great men, etc. then serve as eye witnesses as to why they seek refuge in the caves; because the great day of God’s wrath has come…and [they] said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Rev. 6:16, 17 

Isaiah 2 provides the key to understanding that the day of the Lord is the day that Jesus comes, because the blasphemies will cease: The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day, Isa. 2:11 God revealed in both Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:5, 6 that the Beast (Antichrist) would be given 3 ½ years, or 42 months, to blaspheme those in heaven. 

And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. Rev. 13:5-6 

Since the Antichrist will blaspheme God in heaven for the last 42 months at the end of the age, then the day of the Lord cannot begin until after that time, since God so clearly revealed: 

For the day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up– and it shall be brought low 

upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up; upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall; upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all the beautiful sloops. The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, but the idols He shall utterly abolish. Isa. 2:12-18 

The Beast will exalt himself for 42 months and his loftiness will be brought low in the day of the Lord; which means that the Day of the Lord only begins when He arises to shake the earth mightily. Isa. 2:19, 21 

Isaiah 24 describes in gruesome detail what the destruction will look like when the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants. Isa. 24:1 It will be a time when the land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered. Isa. 24:3 God declares that the earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away. Isa. 24:4 An important time marker is given: the haughty people of the earth languish. Isa. 24:4 The haughtiness of men will be brought low in this chapter as in Chapter Two. This judgment will come about because the “earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Isa. 24:5 Instead of the blasphemies that the Beast had been hurling up to God and those in heaven, fear and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth. Isa. 24:17 

We know this time is precisely parallel to Revelation 6:15-17 because we are told that the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth are shaken. Isa. 24:18 John saw in Revelation 6 that the heavens would recede like a scroll (Rev. 6:14, see also Isa. 34:4.) The heavens will open up on the day that Jesus is revealed from heaven in fire (2 Thess. 1:7, 8) to judge the inhabitants of the earth. 

…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess. 1:7, 8 

This is parallel to Isaiah: 

For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the LORD will judge all flesh; and the slain of the LORD shall be many. Isa. 66:15,16 

Jesus’ unveiling (revelation) from heaven is the time when the heavens will recede like a scroll. When that happens the entire earth will be startled completely and the mountains and hills will be scattered and bowed down (Hab. 3:6) because God will come from Teman (Hab. 3:3) and He will have “rays flashing from His hand,” where “His power was hidden.” (Hab. 3:4) 

Accordingly, when this moment comes, the earth will be “violently broken,” and “split open,” and “shaken exceedingly” (Isa. 24:19). Furthermore, 

The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again. Isa. 24:20 

The day that this happens is the day that God will judge both the fallen angels on high and also the kings and the mighty men on the earth, which John also saw in Revelation 6. 

It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. Isa. 24:21 

We are now ready to compare the rapture from our three sources: Isaiah 26, Matthew 24, and First Thessalonians Four. We discovered in Isaiah 26 that the people are told to enter their chambers until the indignation is past, which is the very day that Jesus returns. Jesus said that at His coming He would send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matt. 24:31 

The verses listed in the next chapter follow the pattern shown in Isaiah 26:19-26, with the resurrection followed by the hiding away because Jesus is coming to judge. The verses are listed in order of relevance rather than the order in which they appear in the Bible. As stated earlier in the chapter, God’s promise to reunite the House of Israel with the House of Judah is the key to understanding the importance of the Gathering (the united kingdom had split into two nations).