Q: Pastor Rogers, do you believe that the church will be taken from the earth before or after the great tribulation?

A: Now, I want to give you three reasons why I believe that the church is going to be raptured before the great tribulation. Here are three words to write on your heart: explanation, expectation, and edification. First of all there’s an explanation: we’re not appointed to wrath. Secondly, there’s an expectation: Jesus can come at any moment. Finally, there is edification: comfort comes from knowing that Jesus could come at any moment.

1. Explanation: First, Paul gives us an explanation about God’s wrath. God chastises His children, but His wrath is for the unsaved. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 states, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ…” Jesus delivered us from the wrath to come. God delivers His children from His wrath. Two classic examples are Noah and Lot. Both men lived in times of economic prosperity and moral perversion, without thought of destruction (Luke 17:26-30). In those days, the sin that used to slink down the back alleys was strutting down main street! Wrath was due for both societies. But, before the flood came, God took Noah out and put him in the ark. Before the fire fell on Sodom and Gomorrah, God took Lot out of the city. God hath not appointed His children to wrath.

2. Expectation: Not only is there an explanation, there’s an expectation. Paul was expecting Christ. Look in 1Thessalonians 5:10: “Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” Paul says “we”. He was expecting Jesus in his lifetime. Was Paul wrong? No, Paul was right. Go back to chapter 4, verse 17. Paul is explaining the rapture and he says: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” He included himself. That was two thousand years ago. Two thousand years ago they were living on the edge of eternity. We’re always on the edge of eternity. As Paul was expecting Christ, we should be expecting Christ. If the tribulation comes first, then we’re not looking for Christ, we’re looking for anti-Christ. Paul was looking for the Lord Jesus Christ. Like Paul, we need to be looking for Jesus at any moment.

3. Edification: Look in 1 Thessalonians 5, verse 11: “Wherefore, comfort yourselves together and edify one another, even as also ye do.” Now, the fact that Jesus is coming at any moment is a great comfort and a great edification. (1 Thess. 16-18). If I believed the church was going to go through seven years of a time so horrible and so terrible that Jesus, Jeremiah, Daniel and Joel all said, there’s never, never been a day like that--how do you think that would edify me?

Even so, come great tribulation? No, even so, come Lord Jesus. I’m not looking for anti-Christ, I’m looking for Christ. I’m waiting for the trumpet sound at any moment. Just as God said, Noah, go into that ark-and just as God said, Lot, get out of that city; He’s going to say to His church, “Come up hither!” And the trumpet will sound, and we’re going to meet Jesus just like that. 


Q: Dr. Rogers, I have looked for the word “rapture” in my Bible, and cannot find it. Does this word relate to Scripture and to the church during the end times?

A: You will not find the word “rapture” in Scripture. It’s taken from the Latin “rapio” for the two words “caught up” used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. It has come into popular use today to refer to the Lord Jesus coming for the church, to lift her up into the heavens. One raptured is “lifted up” in love.

When you are studying the rapture of the church, there are several things you need to keep in mind. First of all, the second coming of Christ is in two parts, separated by a period of seven years.

The first part is sometimes referred to as the “Rapture” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:52-58). The second part occurs when Christ physically, bodily returns to this earth on the Mount of Olives from which He ascended. The interval between these two events, known as the Tribulation and Great Tribulation, is divided into two, three-and-a-half year periods each. The seventy weeks described in Daniel 9:24-27 speaks of this.

The Great Tribulation is the “wrath to come” from which the believer is delivered by the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). The children of God, “because they have kept the word of His patience, will be kept from that hour of trial.” (Revelation 3:10).

We believe that the Scripture teaches that Christians will not be judged with the world when God pours out His wrath in the day of the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Scripture teaches us to look for the Lord’s return, not for the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10 and Titus 2:13).

Jesus said regarding His second coming, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” We should live like Jesus is coming today. It may be closer than we dare dream!
(source: Love Worth Finding Ministries )