Is a Pre-Tribulation Rapture Needed for the Wedding of the Church to Jesus?

Pre-Tribulation Assessment

The contention is that since Revelation 19:7-8 indicates that the church, Christ’s Bride, is made ready to accompany Christ to earth Revelation 19:14 before the second coming, how could this reasonably happen if part of the church is still on earth awaiting Christ’s 2nd Coming?

If the rapture of the church takes place at the second coming, then how does the Bride (i.e., the church) also come with Christ at His return? There would not be sufficient time for this to happen within a posttribulational sequence, but the pretribulation position has no such problem.”

Revelation 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”

Revelation 19:14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

Post-Tribulation Explanation

According to Revelation 19:7, the Bride has just “made herself ready” at the very close of the tribulation! That is when the people in heaven announce that the time for the “Marriage of the Lamb is come.”

According to A.T. Robertson: ” Is come (hlyen). Prophetic aorist, come at last.” The aorist tense implies a suddenness, completeness, or wholeness of the event. In this case, the time for the “marriage of the Lamb” has just arrived.

The problem is really for the pretribulationists. The text does not say the Bride has become ready to descend to earth. It says she has just made herself ready for the wedding. “‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8).

The Bride is not yet married to Christ in Revelation 19. The above statement is made by the multitude in heaven in anticipation of the wedding, and the Groom leaving to fetch His bride. At the extreme end of the tribulation, the Bride has just become ready for the wedding, and the time has finally arrived for the wedding. In a posttribulation scheme, the final stages of the Bride’s becoming “ready” is the last persecution of the overcomers in the tribulation.

If the “Bridal” analogy is to follow Jewish custom, the Bride must “make herself ready” BEFORE the Groom comes to fetch her. Therefore, His coming to fetch the Bride should be AFTER Revelation 19:7-8 and not seven years before. Likewise, in the Jewish wedding, the marriage takes place immediately after the Bride has been fetched by the Groom and brought to their future home. In pretribulation scenario, the Groom fetches the bride seven years before she is ready, takes her to heaven (but not their future home as in the custom), and He is intimate with her for seven years before the wedding! Then after seven years of living with His bride, she finally makes herself ready for the wedding!

Only after living with her for seven years does He marry her, and then instantly leaves with her from heaven to go back to the house of the bride! Pretribulationists have made havoc of the Jewish wedding customs that are clearly intended in this passage! On the other hand, the posttribulation view is perfectly consistent with the Jewish wedding customs, assumes nothing, but takes only what is plainly stated in the text.

Also, regarding the Bride’s making herself ready, “made ready” is also aorist active indicative, implying she has just now finally made herself ready. Immediately, heaven opens and Christ descends. Contrary to what pretribulationists think, the marriage of the Lamb is not said to occur in heaven. The scene in the first part of Revelation 19 is that of the Groom about to depart to go and fetch His bride. That is the reason for the excitement and anticipation in heaven because, “The bride has made herself ready.” The time for the marriage has finally come at the extreme end of the tribulation!

If Christ had come to claim His bride at the beginning of the tribulation in Revelation, then why the seven year delay before she is finally ready to be married? It is much better to conclude that the exclamation at the very end of the tribulation, the Bride has “made herself ready” for the wedding, and the time for the “marriage of the Lamb” has finally arrived, both indicating a posttribulation wedding. If the Bride’s becoming ready and the marriage are posttribulation, then the “claiming” of the bride at the rapture is more likely to be posttribulation as well.

Otherwise we have the extremely awkward scenario of Christ’s coming for His Bride seven years before she is ready for the wedding, and taking her into His house seven years prior to their being married! Pre-tribulation theology flows counter to the facts revealed in Revelation, and with the Jewish wedding customs.

Summary

The Bride under Jewish Wedding customs would not live with the Groom for 7 years. The Groom also would not then leave and then go back to her house.

According to Revelation 19:7, the Bride has just “made herself ready” at the very close of the tribulation! That is when the people in heaven announce that the time for the “Marriage of the Lamb is come.”

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