Is it possible that there will be multiple Rapture events?
I understand the debate on the timing of the Rapture. What I wonder is how the ones who become believers in Jesus during the tribulation, after the Rapture, will be saved. Could there be more than one Rapture?
Firstly, let me say that there is nowhere in the Bible calling or referring to the final 7-year period of this age (the 70th Week) as the "tribulation" period. I believe that this idea been put forth by those who embrace the "Pre-tribulation" view of the Rapture, insisting that believers will be caught up before, and protected from, the entire "tribulation" period. Actually, the only cases of the word "tribulation" in the Bible are in Jesusís Olivet Discourse (in many Bible versions other than in the NIV) and in John's account in Revelation:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. ... But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. (Matthew 24:21,29: American Standard)So, for many, there is an erroneous assumption that "tribulation" refers to the entire 70th Week (final 7-year period). Yet, there is nothing at all in the Bible assigning the term "tribulation" to the 70th Week. The only portion of the 70th Week which aptly can be called a period of "great tribulation" is the period following the setting up of the abomination that causes desolation (in the middle of the seven years), up to the point when the Sixth Seal is opened.
These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14b: New International Version)
Secondly, the idea of a "Pre-tribulation" Rapture itself is erroneous. (See Is the Pre-tribulation view of the Rapture the correct view?)
Thirdly, I do believe that, following the main Rapture event, there will be subsequent "catching-up" events, until the very end of the 70th Week. The major Rapture event will take place after the opening of the Sixth Seal. Later, the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel, who will be sealed for protection (Revelation 7:1-8) immediately after the initial Rapture, were seen to be in heaven in John's vision (14:1-7). Presumably, they will experience their own special catching-up episode (see 144,000 caught up).
The two witnesses clothed in sackcloth, who will prophesy for 1,260 days during the second half of the 70th Week (Revelation 11:3), later will be killed (11:7). After 3Ĺ days, they will be caught up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies look on (11:11,12).
At possibly the very same time as the two witnesses are ascending to heaven, or perhaps very shortly thereafter, there will be those who will be caught up ("harvested") at the end of the 70th Week (Revelation 14:14-16), just prior to Jesusí physical return to earth to destroy the enemies of Israel and Jerusalem. I agree with those of the "Post-tribulation" persuasion who point to this as a Rapture occurrence; however, I maintain that the Pre-wrath Rapture, not the harvest of believers at the end of the 70th Week, will be the main Rapture event.
I also recognize the possibility that there even may be a partial, Mid-Tribulation Rapture of "firstfruits" believersóthe "wise virgins" of Matthew 25:2,4,10. If so, it would take place at the midpoint of the 70th Week (see Is it possible that Jesus' parable about the ten virgins could indicate that there will be a Mid-tribulation Rapture?).
At the initial, Pre-wrath Rapture, angels will be the ones who will gather the elect (Matthew 24:31); whereas, at the catching-up event at the end of the 70th Week, a Post-tribulation Rapture, Jesus (the Son of Man) Himself will be the one who gathers the harvest (Revelation 14:16). I believe that all of the events in which saved believers are gathered, near the end of the 70th Week and at the beginning of the Millennium, can be considered part of the "first resurrection" (20:5b,6a); whereas, the "second resurrection" (20:5a), when the unsaved are condemned to the second (eternal) death, will take place at the end of the Millennium (20:11-14). All of those taking part in the "first resurrection" will not be affected by the second death (20:6b), as they will have been saved for eternity.
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