The Pre-Tribulation Rapture
The first stage of a so-called second advent of Christ is usually called the Pre-Tribulation Rapture (or, taking up). It is a pure invention that came into being in the early 1800ís in Scotland and England (and I will provide full documentation of this, if anyone wishes it). No one ever heard of such a teaching before that time. The apostles of Christ certainly knew nothing of such a two-stage second advent. The fact is, the resurrection of the dead (the righteous dead) and the taking up of the living saints of God take place at the same time and this is shown in I Corinthians 15:2-55). And this "first resurrection" is described in Revelation 20:5,6 and it occurs after the Great Tribulation (not before it). Indeed, the text itself states in the clearest of terms that the event being described is "the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:5,6).
To accept a two-stage second advent of Christ (called a Pre-Tribulation Rapture) is to stretch the scriptures all out of shape to make them fit a man made chronology of the second advent, yet many people today accept it.
One man that I knew (and deeply respect to this day though he is dead now) came to believe the two-stage second advent. Thought he was a respected translator of the Bible, he was forced to translate the word "first" in Revelation 20:5,6 be the word "former". This is where his interpretation of doctrine took precedence over the clear meaning of the word. That same word is the same as that in the Book of Revelation which speaks of the first, second, third, and fourth beasts (4:7), the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets and plagues (8:7 and 16:2). In no way should one translate the word "first" as "former" in these sequences of events, and it should not be done in Revelation 20:5,6. Without doubt, the word "first" in Revelation 20:5,6 is an ordinal number and it should not be translated "former" to satisfy the teachings of false doctrines concerning a two-stage second advent of Christ. The first resurrection to spiritual life at Christís return is that mentioned in Revelation 20:5,6 and it occurs after the events associated with the Great Tribulation are over. God will protect his people from the Great Tribulation here on earth, not up in heaven as the Pre-Tribulation Rapturists teach.
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