Hi to my Forum Friends,
On the Religion Forum over the years, there have often been discussions about the Rapture. Most Conservative Christian believers, such as me, believe that the Rapture of the church, the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ -- will occur "like a thief in the night" (imminency, i.e., that Jesus Christ will return, but, no one except God knows the time) and, then, in a short time after the Rapture, the seven year Tribulation will begin.
Our Liberal Christian brethren either deny the Rapture altogether (Roman Catholic, etc.) or believe that the Rapture will occur in the middle of the Tribulation period (MidTrib) or that it will occur after the Tribulation (PostTrib).
We know that our Roman Catholic brethren deny the Rapture -- because it conflicts with their church's teaching of Purgatory, which cannot be supported from Scripture.
The two latter beliefs are also impossible to support from Scripture -- for if MidTrib, then that denies the imminency of His return for His church, i.e., the Rapture, as taught in Scripture. If we follow the MidTrib clock, when the Tribulation begins -- just count 3 1/2 years and there is the Rapture, no imminency.
And, if a PostTrib return, i.e., Rapture, is true -- how will the Bride of Christ attend the Wedding Feast of the Lamb -- if she is still on earth waiting for a PostTrib Rapture? So, you see, a PreTrib Rapture is all that makes sense.
In the latest issue of The Berean Call newsletter, in the Q&A section, there is a question and answer which addresses this question very well.
How Can You Believe In A Rapture And Resurrection
At The Beginning Of The Great Tribulation?
Dave Hunt, Tom McMahon - The Berean Call, August 2011 issue
Question: Christ said, "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." In view of such Scriptures, how can you believe in a Rapture and Resurrection at the beginning of the Great Tribulation? Doesn't Revelation 20:4-5 teach that the "first resurrection" takes place after the Battle of Armageddon?
Response: Beware of teaching that is built on one isolated verse. What do "first resurrection" and "last day" mean? The answer can only be found in the context of all Scripture. In John 5:28-29, Jesus spoke of two resurrections:
The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the  resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the  resurrection of da-m-nation.
Undoubtedly Revelation 20:4-5 refers to the resurrection of life. That the reference is not to the resurrection of all believers, however, but only those martyred by Antichrist during the Great Tribulation, is clearly stated: "them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark...."
Then what about Abraham, David, Peter, Paul, Spurgeon, Moody, and Christians who have died more recently, none of whom was slain by Antichrist? When are they resurrected? At the Rapture, as 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 declares, "the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together...to meet the Lord in the air." No mention of that in Revelation 20, so it must have already occurred -- another argument for a pretrib Rapture.
The only resurrection after Revelation 20:4-5 takes place 1000 years later and must be what Christ called "the resurrection of da-m-nation." Those who are raised then are still "dead in trespasses and in sins" (Eph 2:1; Col 2:13): "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened...and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books..." (Rev 20:12). This is the Great White Throne Judgment of the lost.
As for Christians, they have already "appear[ed] before the judgment seat of Christ" (Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10) right after the Rapture. In Revelation 19:7-9, we read of "the marriage supper of the Lamb" involving, of course, His bride, the church (Eph 5:23-32).
When and how did she (the Bride of Christ) get to heaven? Obviously, at the pretrib Rapture! She is clothed in fine linen, white and clean (v. 8). Next, Christ descends with "the armies which were in heaven...[also] clothed in fine linen, white and clean" (v. 14) to confront and destroy Antichrist at Armageddon. Surely the church comprises that army.
Enoch prophesied that Christ would return to this earth "with ten thousands [i.e., an innumerable company] of his saints, to execute judgment" upon Antichrist and his followers (Jude 14-15). Zechariah 14:4-5 states that when Christ comes to earth to rescue Israel and "His feet stand in that day upon the mount of Olives...all the saints" come with Him. Surely these are not disembodied spirits waiting to be resurrected! The saints who accompany Christ from heaven (Rev 19) to reign on earth must be in their glorified bodies -- and they must have been taken to heaven previously in order to descend from there with Him at Armageddon.
That this resurrection in Revelation 20 involves only "the souls of them" who were martyred by Antichrist is a clear indication that all other saints have been previously resurrected. Then why wait until after Armageddon for these martyrs to be raised?
We are told why. Some of these same souls are seen earlier:
I saw under the altar the souls of them ...slain for the word of God...and it was said unto them, that they should rest...until their fellow servants also...that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Rev 6:9-11)
Since all Great Tribulation martyrs are resurrected together -- and Antichrist kills believers to the very end -- their resurrection must await the end of Armageddon. If the resurrection of believers who lived and died prior to the Tribulation took place seven years previously, why is the resurrection in Revelation 20 of those slain by Antichrist called "the first resurrection"? Clearly, it is in order to show that these martyrs are part of that company which has already been resurrected, the church. It specifically says that they "reign with him [Christ] a thousand years" (Rev 20:6) as do the saints of all ages.
What about Christ raising all believers "at the last day"? This "last day" is surely not the 24-hour period in which these martyrs are raised, for there are many more days that follow. The "last day" is a lengthy period of time called "the day of the Lord [God]" (Isa 2:12; Jer 46:10; Eze 30:3; Joel 1:15, etc.) or "the day of Christ" (1 Cor 1:8; Phil 1:10; 2 Thess 2:2). It "comes like a thief in the night" when men are saying "peace and safety" (1 Thess 5:2-3) and do not expect Christ to return or God's judgment to fall but boast that "all things continue as they were from the beginning" (2 Pet 3:3-4,10).
Clearly this "day" cannot begin with the Millennium, for it involves God's wrath upon mankind prior thereto. Nor can it begin "as a thief" in the midst of the Tribulation, for by Revelation 6 the world is in ruins and men are crying out to the rocks to hide them from God's wrath. It can only start at the beginning of the Tribulation with the Rapture and resurrection. It must also last until the end of the Millennium and the destruction of the old universe, for Peter says, "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away...the day of God, wherein the heavens...shall be dissolved...we...look for new heavens and a new earth" (2 Pet 3:10-13).
Bold, underline, and italic emphasis in this article is mine.
I believe you will also find the main article in the August 2011 issue of The Berean Call newsletter very interesting. It is titled "From Oprah to Oz -- And Beyond." You can read the full article at: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/9322
Below is an excerpt to get you started
She (Oprah) then further identified the God to whom she referred: "I'm talking about the same one you're talking about. I'm talking about Alpha and Omega, the Omniscient, the Omnipresent, the Ultimate Consciousness, the Source, the Force, the All of everything there is, the One and Only G-O-D"
If it's still not clear to you exactly who or what this "One and Only G-O-D" is, you're not alone. All the commentaries that I've read regarding Oprah's farewell program have noted that reviewers also were confused about the deity to whom she paid homage.
What should be clear is that the "Jesus" and the "God" whom she describes are not the biblical Jesus and God. But that may not be so clear for some -- especially those who consider themselves Christians and who think that Oprah is talking about the same Jesus in whom they believe.
To read other issues of The Berean Call visit the web site: http://www.thebereancall.org/Newsletter/index.php
And, to get a FREE subscription via snail mail -- while on that page, click on the big red SUBSCRIBE button on the top right of the page.
For over 40 years, Dave Hunt has been writing Christian apologetic books and speaking at churches and conferences. In 1992, he joined forces with Tom McMahon -- who spent half his adult life in the Roman Catholic church before moving to the Protestant faith -- and the two of them founded and have been the movers behind The Berean Call, a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation which exists to: Alert believers, Exhort believers, Supply believers, Mobilize believers, and Impact the church of Jesus Christ with the necessity of trusting the Scriptures as the only rule of faith, practice, and a life pleasing to God.
Personally, I have been receiving and studying The Berean Call newsletter for many, many years -- and, God willing, one day I will be able to give back to that ministry, financially, for all they have given me through their writings. But, that is not a requirement to receive and read this great Christian resource.
I will end with one qualification. While I respect and have learned a great from Dave Hunt and Tom McMahon over the years, I do not always agree 100% with all they write. But, to be honest, in the 24 years I have been a Christian, I have never met any person with whom I agree 100%. Is that a fault with them -- or with me? No, not really. It just says that we are all human and, as such, we do err at times. Only God is perfect. The rest of us must learn to make allowances for one another.
In the same vein, let me say that, in the 24 years I have been a Christian -- I doubt, very seriously, there is anyone who has agreed with me 100%. So, I ask you to also make allowances for me -- and to test everything I write against Scripture (Acts 17:11).
I will make this declaration. When I share a writing from The Berean Call or any other source, it is because I do agree with what they have written -- or, I will insert a qualifying statement. In this article from The Berean Call, we are on the same page.
I pray this is useful to you. If so, please feel free to share it with your Friends, Relatives, Associates, and Neighbors -- all your FRANs. Let's all keep sharing the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- until His imminent return.
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,