Category Archives: 6th Seal

What Are The Four Winds?

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Horsemen

Anemos is Greek for Wind

The English word, “wind” is not always translated from the same Greek word.  There are actually three different Greek words which are translated “wind”. Pneuma, which is actually spirit, pneo, which is a derivative of pneuma meaning breath, and anemos which is wind.  The word anemos is the word used in Revelation 7:1 and in Matthew 24, and so for the purpose of this article, I will focus on anemos and use the Greek Septuagint so we can cross reference the correct use of wind in the old testament.

Winds of fortune

Anemos is primarily used in reference to judgment- specically scattering errant people like the wind scatters the chaff.

6 Ho, ho, [come forth], and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.
4 The ungodly [are] not so: but [are] like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase [them].
42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.
13 The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but [God] shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
16 Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, [and] shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.
13 When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take [them]: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;
6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
24 Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness.
21 And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the LORD have spoken [it].
12 A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

 

Other types of judgment or calamity are also described by wind.

29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool [shall be] servant to the wise of heart.
10 Yea, behold, [being] planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.
12 But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.
25 Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
1 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;

 

When the ten plagues of Egypt were sentenced, the locusts were literally brought in by the wind.

13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all [that] night; [and] when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.

19 And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.

 

The wind can also bring deliverance as when God parted the Red Sea with a strong east wind, and when he gathers his elect from the earth.

21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go [back] by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry [land], and the waters were divided.
26 He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (see also Mar 13:27)

 

The Four Winds

But the FOUR winds are used mainly in prophetic passages and visions.

36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.

 

The four horns of the beast in Daniels vision were scattered to the cardinal directions

8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.

 

In Daniel’s vision the sea is tossed by the four winds when the beast emerges from the sea

2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

 

What role do the four winds have in Revelation 7?

Our primary verse we are trying to understand is  Rev 7:1 KJV

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”

 

So to provide a bit of context, Rev. 7 follows  the passage about the opening of the seals and the four horsemen.  It turns out that the four horsemen of Rev 6 have a deep connection to the four winds of Rev. 7.  To better understand these horsemen and the connection to the four winds, we need to look at a cross reference passage in Zechariah. The word wind is actually NOT found in the KJV.  It is however in the original Greek manuscript and the verse turns up in a search of the Greek word anemos used in Revelation 7. Here is the passage from the KJV and from Brenton’s translation of the Septuagint showing the anemos/wind.

Zec 6:1-8 KJV “And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. 2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; 3 And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. 4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? 5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. 7 And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. 8 Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.”

The LXX says, “5 And the angel that talked with me answered and said, These are the four winds of heavenand they are going forth to stand before the Lord of all the earth.”

 

The four winds ARE the four Horsemen

So, the Four Horses in Zechariah, are the same four horses in Revelation, and are also the four winds.  Their job is to bring judgments on errant peoples so that they will repent and the wrath of God will be appeased. We will also see that they bring blessings as well in a bit. So these winds/ horses have been bringing judgment and opening the seals, which is not a good thing, obviously, and men are not repenting, God’s wrath is not turned back so the seals continue to open.  Instead of repentance, the 5th seal reveals that God’s elect instead gets martyred.  So, in our verse in Revelation, the horsemen, or four winds, or angels are going through the earth causing calamities, and then are restrained a holy angel while he goes and seals the elect remnant of Israel (not the church elect, but the Jews)

Rev 7:2-3 KJV 2 “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”  Then after a description about how each of the tribes had 12,000 people sealed, there is this verse:

Rev 7:9 KJV 9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”

This is not the Israelites that were just sealed because it says all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, and unlike the 144000, they cannot be numbered. This is the church.  And we can see more information about this incident because  Matthew 24 tells us that the elect will be gathered together from the four winds.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. “(Mar 13:27)

 

The four winds gather the church to be raptured

So, it is hard to tell by Rev 7 if the church is delivered FROM the four winds or  BY the four winds, but we can cross reference a passage in Ezekiel for clues.  Ezekiel saw a vision of a valley full of dead men’s bones.  God commanded Ezekiel to command the wind to raise an army up from the bones.  The four winds breathed life into the bones and the bodies were restored and became a great army.

9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

 

The vision here specifies Israel, but the precedent for the four winds to be commanded to breath life into the dead is revealed.  Israel will also be resurrected after the 6th trumpet in a very similar passage that clarifies Jewish lineage of that congregation.

It would not be unprecedented for the wind to deliver after it has brought judgment.  Remember the passage in Exodus where the wind brought the locusts, and then returned them to the sea.

The Matthew 24 and Revelation 7 passages have other signs that match up to make it an undeniable cross reference.  See the article about the horsemen.

 

The four winds in antiquity

The book of Enoch gives some details about the four winds.  It describes gates at the ends of the earth on all cardinal directions through which the winds pass through and the blessings and injuries they are responsible for.

And on the ends of the earth I saw for all the winds twelve portals opened, from which the winds come and blow over the earth. 2. Three of them are open on the face [i.e. the east] of the heavens, and three in the west, and three on the right [i.e. south] of heaven, and three on the left [i.e. north]. 3. And the first three are those towards the east, and three towards the north, and three behind those which are on the left, towards the south, and three in the west. 4. Through four of these come winds of blessing and of peace, and through those eight come winds of injury: when they are sent they bring destruction to all the earth and to the water on it and to all those who dwell on it and to everything that is in the water and on the land. 5. And the first wind from these portals, which is called the eastern, comes forth from the first portal which is towards the east, inclining towards the south; out of it comes destruction, dryness and heat and death. 6. And through the second middle portal comes forth the right mixture; there come forth rain and fruitfulness and peace and dew. And through the third portal, which is towards the north, come forth coldness and dryness. 7. And after these the winds towards the south come forth through three portals; firstly through the first portal of them, which inclines towards the east, there comes forth the wind of heat. 8. And from the middle portal, which is beside that one, there come forth a sweet incense and dew and rain and peace and life. 9. And through the third portal, which is towards the west, there come forth dew and rain and grasshoppers and destruction. 10. And after these northerly winds from the seventh portal, which is towards the east, inclining to the south, there come forth dew and rain, grasshoppers and destruction. 11. And out of the middle portal direct there come forth rain and dew and life and peace, and through the third portal, which is towards the west, which inclines towards the north, there come forth fog and hoar-frost and snow and rain and dew and grasshoppers. 12. And after these the winds which are towards the west: through the first portal, which inclines towards the north, there come forth dew and rain and grasshoppers and coldness and snow and frost. 13. And from the middle portal there come forth dew and rain, peace and blessing, and through the last portal, which is towards the south, there come forth dryness and destruction, burning and death. 14. Thereby the twelve portals of the four portals [directions] of heaven are completed, and all their laws and all their destructions and their virtues I have showed to you, my son Methuselah. CHAP. 77.—They call the first wind the eastern, because it is the first, and they call the second the southern because the Most High descends there, and especially does the Blessed One in eternity descend there. 2. And the name of the west wind is the diminishing, because there the luminaries of the heavens diminish and go down. 3. And the fourth wind, called the north, is divided into three parts, one of them is for the dwelling of men, the second for the seas of water and for the valleys and for the woods and for the streams and for the darkness and for the fog; and the third part with the garden of justice.  * my mobile copy of Enoch has these chapters labeled 75 and 76 and the translation differs.  Should you decide to investigate Enoch for yourself.

 

It is interesting that the tabernacle is modeled after the earth described in Enoch.  On the four sides of the tabernacle there were doors for the four winds.  At the doors were attendants or porters just like there are angels at the gates at the end of the earth in Enoch. The word “wind” is left out of the KJV, but anemos is used in the Septuagint.

1Ch 9:24 KJV In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south.

[I Chron 9:24 Brenton LXX] The gates were toward the four winds, eastward, westward, northward, southward

 

The four winds are angels or spirit entities

We have further evidence to connect the wind and the horses as spiritual entities.

Revelation 7 shows a relationship between the wind and angels, as does Psalm 35:5 when the people are said to be chased by an angel like chaff before the wind.

1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them.

 

The horse imagery of the four winds

Enoch remarks about the form of the fallen angels as being horse-like in a vision he received.

 

And behold a single star fell from heaven.  Which being raised up, ate and fed among those cows (the cows are the humans from Adam and Eve). After that I perceived other large and black cows; and behold all of them changed their stalls and pastures, while their young began to lament one with another. (this means that they began to worship other gods – not abide in the pasture of God) Again I looked in my vision, and surveyed heaven; when behold I saw many stars which descended, and projected themselves from heaven to where the first star was, Into the midst of those young ones; while the cows were with them, feeding in the midst of them.  I looked at and observed them; when behold they all acted after the manner of horses, and began to approach the young cows, all of whom became pregnant, and brought forth elephants, camels and asses.
And when I looked in the vision, behold, one of those four angels, who came forth, hurled from heaven, collected together and took all the great stars, whose form partly resembled that of horses; and binding them all hand and foot, cast them into the cavities of the earth.
Then the Lord called the first seven white ones, and commanded them to bring before him the first of the first stars, which preceded the stars whose form partly resembled that of horses; the first star, which fell down first; and they brought them all before him.

 

Horse imagery in the occult

We can also see some sources outside Christianity that will help to show that the horse/ angel/ wind connection is not a just Christian idea, but a matter of fact that was known at one time to mankind.  Lets take a look at some Greek mythology. The Greek word for wind is ἄνεμος (anemos). The Anemoi (plural for wind in Greek) was the name given to the Greek gods of the winds. The Anemoi are sons of Aeolus.  There names are Boreas, god of the north wind, Zephrus, god of the west wind, Notus, god of the south wind, and Eurus, god of the east wind.  The Roman version of the wind gods also were assigned cardinal directions, including intercardinal directions and there were 12 gods.

Boreas was closely associated with horses. He was said to have fathered twelve colts after taking the form of a stallion

They were also sometimes depicted as horses kept in the stables of the storm god Aeolus, who provided Odysseus with the Anemoi in the Odyssey. The Spartans were reported to sacrifice a horse to the winds on Mount Taygetus. Notus (Νότος, Nótos) was the Greek god of the south wind. He was associated with the desiccating hot wind of the rise of Sirius after midsummer, was thought to bring the storms of late summer and autumn, and was feared as a destroyer of crops. So, it is interesting that our winds in the Bible bring judgments of famine and pestilence, and the wind gods of the Greeks and Romans also brought crop conditions.

 

Horse imagery in weather

This next article about the horse latitudes bringing little to no rain when they travel north or south makes sense of some modern maritime terminology.

 

The horse latitudes are associated with the subtropical anticyclone. The belt in the Northern Hemisphere is sometimes called the “calms of Cancer” and that in the Southern Hemisphere the “calms of Capricorn”.

The consistently warm, dry, and sunny conditions of the horse latitudes are the main cause for the existence of the world’s major non-polar deserts, such as the Sahara Desert in Africa, the Arabian and Syrian deserts in the Middle East, the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, all in the Northern Hemisphere; and the Atacama Desert, the Kalahari Desert, and the Australian Desert in the Southern Hemisphere.

You see a connection with horses, winds and crop conditions.

horse latitudes
horse latitudes are specials zones where the winds are warmed and effect the ecology

Fun fact: a ship was said to be ‘horsed‘ when, although there was insufficient wind for sail, the vessel could make good progress by latching on to a strong current.

 

Horses, false gods, weather, fortune

Tibetan prayer flags are traditionally hung in high places to catch the wind so the prayer will be carried out to bless and bring good fortune to all sentient beings. Translated to English, the words on Wind Horse prayer flags say:

“May the rain fall at the proper time.

May the crops and livestock be bountiful.

May there be freedom from illness, famine, and war.

May all beings be well and happy.”

The wind horse is a symbol of the human soul in the shamanistic tradition of East Asia and Central Asia. In Tibetan Buddhism, it was included as the pivotal element in the center of the four animals symbolizing the cardinal directions and a symbol of the idea of well-being or good fortune. It has also given the name to a type of prayer flag that has the five animals printed on it. Again, associating the wind, the horse and the spirit and fortune.

 

The Conclusion

You can do your own research on the connection between horses, storms and spirits.  It is truly creepifying.  It is my conclusion that there are angels responsible for causing the winds to blow, control the storms, and blow in pestilence or other calamities or much needed rain so that men will turn to the Most High.  These spirits resemble horses in some way, perhaps in their mannerisms or when they manifest themselves physically or in visions to men.  At God’s command they open the seals of the book in Revelation and the ingathering of the church at the rapture.

 

Just as God set the celestial bodies in motion, He created the angels that they represent and the people of the world whether they acknowledge Him as supreme or not, still acknowledge the existence of the stars, He also created the winds and the angels that they represent and the people of the world recognize that on those winds are brought blessings or severities.  They recognize the horse-likeness as well, perhaps from tales passed down from the events of Gen 6:4, where I suspect most supernatural tales originated.  Perhaps part of the reason nations fly their flags which display the signet of the one they serve also wish to observe the winds that come because of that lord and their actions. One thing is certain, if we want to be the recipient of blessings from the four winds that they will bring us life and carry us to the Most High, we will abide in His pastures and raise up His flag so that the world will see whom we love.

 

Psalm 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

Song of Solomon 2:4  He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

The Heavens Depart like a scroll

At the opening of the sixth seal, there is
1. an earthquake
2. The sun becomes black
3. The moon becomes red
4. The stars fall like unripe figs
5. The heaven rolls back like a scroll
6. The mountains and islands are moved

12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

The reference to the heavens rolling up like a scroll is a quote from Isaiah

4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling [fig] from the fig tree.

Interestingly enough, the English word scroll is only used twice in the English Bible. But the word from which scroll is translated is used 184 times. In other places it is translated book (138x), letter (29x), evidence (8x), bill (4x), learning (2x), register (1x), learned (with H3045) (1x),scroll (1x).

A study of the things that are written in heaven is an extensive study that I will not get into now. Records that are kept in Biblical accounts were done for various reasons: to keep history or accounts, to keep laws and judgments, or for legal decrees. In the heavens, God keeps two types of books, the Book of Life, and the Book of the accounts of our works. I use the words scrolls and books interchangeably.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

The seals being opened in revelation are for the scroll containing the judgments upon the world. There is no one worthy to open the scrolls except Jesus Christ who not only fulfilled all its laws but also suffered it’s judgment.

[Rev 5:1-5 KJV]

1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

The books of the law are kept as “a witness against” whose who break it. It is evidence, as you would submit evidence in court. (The word for ‘scroll’ is actually translated ‘evidence’ in some scriptures)

[Deu 31:24, 26 KJV]

24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book,[H5612] until they were finished, … 26 Take this book[H5612] of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

It is my opinion that the opening of the 6th seal reveals a literal opening (or closing perhaps) of the sky, which is itself a testament of God’s law and judgment. The sky itself will be submitted as evidence of God’s broken law and it will witness against mankind.

I also looked up the word for rolled up. Because this is a quote from Isaiah, we get a lot more contextual evidence from the word translated ‘rolled up’ because the word is used many times in the O.T.  I was a bit confused wondering if the scroll was being rolled up to close it or being opened, because in Revelation, the sealed scroll is opened. But rolled is actually in all the other passages non specific. Some verses are rolling something closed like rolling a stone in front of a cave, and others are rolling it away to open it. But the word was used a lot in referring to judgments, which is interesting. A more complete understanding would be the way we use rolled like “roll out a new product” so there is actual rolling and figurative rolling in the Hebrew as there is in the English.

As to the sky being a testament, we use the phrase written in the sky, or written in the stars for good reason. David wrote an entire psalm to the sky being used as a written testament of God’s precepts. In fact, the psalm is prophetical psalm about Revelations. He refers to lightning (as the coming of Christ will be as lightning) and the whole earth witnessing it, and the salvation of Israel which is to be sealed right after the heaven is rolled back like a scroll.

[Psa 97:1-12 KJV]

1 The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad [thereof]. 2 Clouds and darkness [are] round about him: righteousness and judgment [are] the habitation of his throne. 3 A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. 4 His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. 5 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. 6 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. 7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all [ye] gods. 8 Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD. 9 For thou, LORD, [art] high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods. 10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. 11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. 12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

The fact that the sun and moon and stars are to testify against man is ironic, since the idol worshippers used them to blaspheme God and worshipped them in His place.

When is the Rapture- Pre-trib, Mid-trib, or Post trib?

When will Jesus come to remove the church during the tribulation?

The tribulation lasts for 7 years.  During that time there will be a judgment on the whole world like the world has never experienced.  Whether Jesus raptures the church before, during or at the end is a matter of interpretation.

There are plenty of scriptures to support each idea so you can weigh them for yourself. I believe the church will be raptured out at the 6th seal, right before the first trumpet is sounded at the 7th seal just after midpoint.  Then the elect with the 144000 Jewish converts will be raptured out at the last trumpet before the vials are poured out.

Pre-Trib

Let’s be honest, to be raptured out before the tribulation is just the most desirable solution.  Who wants to be here for that.  If we get rescued before all that begins, there is really no point studying up for any of the apocalypse.  Not my problem.  Here are popular passages supporting a pre-tribulation rapture..

17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. . . 20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner [being] an hundred years old shall be accursed….23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

Pretrib advocates say that all the saints can’t be raptured at the end because

“Believers who come to faith in Christ during the tribulation are not translated at Christ’s second advent but carry on ordinary occupations such as farming and building houses, and they will bear children (Isa. 65:20-25). This would be impossible if all saints were translated at the second coming to the earth, as post-tribulationists teach. Because pre-tribulationists have at least a seven-year interval between the removal of the church at the rapture and the return of Christ to the earth, this is not a problem because millions of people will be saved during the interval and thus be available to populate the millennium in their natural bodies in order to fulfill Scripture.”

But a “new heaven and new earth” indicate the time AFTER the millenial reign, and after the great white throne judgment, because the former things are not remembered, and Revelation lays out the new heaven and new earth After both.

The next point this pre-trib defender makes is the “immanent return of Christ”.

“The New Testament speaks of our Lord’s return as imminent, meaning that it could happen at any moment. Other events may occur before an imminent event, but nothing else must take place before it happens. Immanency passages instruct believer to look, watch, and wait for His coming (1 Cor. 1:7; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:10; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; 1 Peter 1:13; Jude 21). If either the appearance of the Antichrist, the Abomination of Desolation, or the unfolding of the Tribulation must occur before the Rapture, then a command to watch for Christ’s coming would not be relevant”.

So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Basically he is saying, why would you be told to look for Christ if we had some other specific signs that had to happen before he comes.  We could just look for those signs, but we are told to expect Christ at any moment.

The next argument made is that Jesus said to the church of Philadelphia that he would keep them from the hour of temptation.

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

He also argues that after the initial letters to the churches, the church is never mentioned again in Revelation.

The next argument is that the “restrainer” in 2 Thessalonians is the Holy Spirit indwelling in the believers. The argument is that when the believers are removed, the holy spirit will also be removed from the earth, and the antichrist will be free to do his work.

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders…

I don’t think the “restrainer is the Holy Spirit”. Paul talks about the Holy Spirit often, and would not suddenly go cryptic on His identity here.  More on that later.

I will address these verses again in the mid-trib section.

Here is the full argument for the pre-trib position.  https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1117&context=pretrib_arch

Post-Trib

The verses supporting a post tribulation belief are stronger.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of 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 upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection.

The verse is pretty straight forward.  It says it is the first resurrection. The end.

Then there is Matt 24.  Pretty much the whole chapter, but I have some key verses here for your convenience. Just be advised, there are verses missing.

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. … 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. … 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. … 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. … 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. … 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. … 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

This is more clarification from the wiki article (none of this is my view, I am just presenting the competition)

“For additional references, see also the parallel passages from Mark 13:24-27 and Luke 21:20-28. While the passages in Luke 21 parallels Matthew and Mark, it offers a couple of interesting clarifications. This passage in Luke offers interesting references to some of the major events which are greatly elaborated on in the Book of Revelation. Reading all three books of the Bible in parallel, it would appear that Luke elaborates on the “abomination of desolation” describing Jerusalem being surrounded by the armies of the world and of Jerusalem’s imminent destruction (Luke 21:20).”

Another argument is 2 Pet 3:10-13 (Don’t let it be lost on you that many of these verses are used to support both pre and post tri which is why I say it is a matter of interpretation.)

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

“Another account which lends support to the idea of a post-tribulation rapture is in 2 Peter 3:10-13, where the idea of “The Day of the Lord” coming as a “thief in the night” comes from. This idea of imminence, according to the post-tribulation view, only applies to the wicked and the spiritually unprepared people that are still alive before the return of Christ. Therefore, only God’s elect will fully have a clear understanding of the timing of the second coming, and Christ’s coming will not catch the believers by surprise, but only those who are spiritually ignorant regarding the truth. In the passage of 2 Peter 3:10-13, Christ’s return is equated with the “elements being melted”, and “the earth also and the works therein shall be burned up”. Two opposing views, pre-tribulationism and mid-tribulationism, see the rapture and the Second Coming (or Greek, parousia) of Christ as separate events; while in post-tribulationism the two events are identical or simultaneous.”

Another key difference between the pre-, mid-, and post-tribulationism is the number of times that Jesus Christ must return. Although it is not directly referenced, in both the pre- and mid-tribulation raptures, Christ must then return a third time, at the end of the tribulation period.”

The wiki article does a thorough job of defending the post tribulation view, and it is quite lengthy.  I don’t really want to copy it all down here, but you can read it all for yourself  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-tribulation_rapture>  I will also address these verses in the next section.

Mid-Trib

Most people think that the rapture and the abomination of desolation are not found in Revelation.  I think that these events are too significant to NOT be found in Revelation. These events are huge and they are major timeline markers. Find the markers and everything else will line up.

Here are the verses about the abomination of desolation

[Mat 24:15 KJV] 15 

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Jesus is specifically quoting Dan 12.  We know because He included the phrase “whoso readeth, let him understand” which is not an instruction from Jesus, but actually part of the quote in vs 10.

Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. 11 And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

Here are the other three passages from Daniel.

Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily [sacrifice], and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

This specific prophecy was fulfilled during the time of the Maccabees.  Herod Antiochus entered the temple, declared himself to be god (Zeus actually) and offered a swine on the altar.  Then the Jews were also caused to offer abominable sacrifices in their towns and villages where they lived and give allegiance to Zeus. Those who did not comply were slaughtered. Their children which were circumcised were hung and the mothers offered as a burnt offering. This is why the phrase “woe to them that give suck” is included in these passages.

The surrounding passages give details about the perpetrator of this event

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily [sacrifice], and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. … 36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge [and] increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

So the key characteristics are

  1. An object considered abominable in a place that is holy so that it is polluted
  2. The act will cause desolation
  3. The perpetrator exalts himself as God
  4. Honors other gods besides God
  5. Rules through proxies (referred to here as “arms” and in vs. 39 “he shall cause them to rule over many”
  6. He will war against God’s people (Dan 11:28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart [shall be] against the holy covenant; and he shall do [exploits], and return to his own land.)

So now we have enough information to see if there is a person and an event in Revelation that matches.

The beast described in Rev fits our perpetrator in Dan 11.  I have highlighted the portions that display the key characteristics listed above.

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. … 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. … 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: … 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six.

Also note worthy is that he kills the people who refuse to comply, which was true about the first fulfillment Antiochus.

Also note worthy is the duration of the rule of the perpetrator.  Dan 8 says he will make a covenant for 1 week (or 7 years) and in the midst of the week (3.5 years) he will cause the offering to cease.  3.5 years on either side would be 42 months. Revelation gives the beast another 42 months in vs. 5. So the time lengths are matching up.

So the act of this villain that gets referenced over and over is the mark.  Those who receive the mark are cursed by God.  God will destroy all of them.  This is the very definition of desolate. He causes the people to worship a false god, and to receive his mark resulting in them being cut off from the grace of God.

Now the reason we are trying to find the abomination of desolation is because it is a mile marker on the apocalypse time line.  So if the mark is the abomination of desolation, the events should match up to the timeline.

Daniels time line is summarized in ch 12

And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed [is] he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

So here there will be A. ceasing of the sacrifice, B. Abomination of Desolation C. Some blessed event

This passage begs the question whether you count the 1335 days from the beginning time mark – the ceasing of the sacrifice, or from the 1290 day time mark – the abomination of desolation

The Sequence of Events in Matt. 24:29-31 Fits the Sixth and Seventh Seals in Revelation

Back to Jesus who was quoting this passage. It gets confusing because there are several passages but they seem to skip around and come out of order.  There is three in sequence that line up with Revelation that indicate there is a rapture at mid point.

Sign of the Sun, Moon & Stars

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun 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: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

It says immediately after the tribulation.  Most people automatically think this is referring to the entire 7 year tribulation, so it would be at the end.  I would agree, except the sun is darkened and the moon does not give light.  The stars fall from heaven and the powers of heaven are shaken.  Revelation has these 4 signs

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

Now AFTER the tribulation ( the entire great tribulation) there are some similar signs. Near the end, when the vials are being poured out right before the battle of Armageddon, one of the vials is about the sun

And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

And there is a great earthquake.  But it does not have all four signs so neatly in order.

Men Mourn the Sight of the Lord

Furthermore, Matthew 24:30 is also included if you continue reading in Rev. 6:15

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

But the passage continues to hold the sequence of Revelation with chapter 7.  Matthew 24:31 mentions the trumpet.  And four winds gathering the elect.  Revelation 7 is a clear break in the timeline and focuses on something very unusual going on in Heaven with the four winds.

The Four Winds

And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Immediately after the 144,000 are sealed…

9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

These people are not the 144000.  The passage is very specific that the 144000 is from the tribes of Israel.  These people here are all nations and kindreds.  But the passage is kind enough to spell it out for us

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

So just a side note, the Bible called the previous events the “great tribulation” even though we are only part way through the vision with many more terrible things to come.

The Trumpet

Now Matthew 24:31 also mentions a trumpet.  The next seal is in chapter 8 (lest you think we have fallen into a rabbit trail, John keeps us updated on the time line.  The 7th seal is the trumpets.

So there is a little dis-junction here because Matt. 24 lists sun, moon, stars, shaking, son of man in heaven, men mourning, trumpet, four winds and Revelation has the trumpet AFTER the four winds.  I cannot account for that, but it is the most similar line up of events hands down. My guess is that the half hour of silence is when the martyrs receive their white robes and the four winds are stilled and the sound of the first trumpet is when the saints are raptured. Not to be confused with the “last trump” which I will get to.

The Church is Present in Heaven

So I think the passage clearly indicates that the church is present in heaven at the sixth seal, and they were not there before.  In fact, during the 5th seal, which is the martyrs, the people who have already been killed and are waiting for justice cry out to God and ask how long until they will  be avenged and they are told a little longer until their bretheren are killed.

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.

God will not avenge them until the saints are taken out of the way, which fulfills a very important verse that the pre-trib worry about.  The seals are not the wrath being poured out, they are a tribulation to test the saints and to make them white.

[1Th 5:9 KJV] 9 

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ

The Four Winds Used for Resurrection

Another reason that supports this being the resurrection and gathering of the saints is because of the “four winds”.  In Ezekiel, God brings Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones and God resurrects an army from the bones. This is obviously a prophesy of the 144000 coming to the understanding of the Messiah and they will rise against the beast for the remainder of Revelation.  But it is noteworthy that the four winds are called to resurrect the dead.

Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.

The Great Tribulation is Shortened

The verse used by the Pre-Trib view is actually a very good case for the Rapture in Rev 6.

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

You see that their days of the tribulation were shortened.  This also makes sense of the verses prior in Matt 24

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

We still have some issues to deal with as far as the resurrection of the believers who are killed after the seals.  There are 144,000 Israelites who will be preaching.  And Paul refers to the “last trump” which definitely is not the first trump at the 7th seal.

The Judgment of the Great City of Babylon in Revelation 18 comes to completion and God calls out his people.

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

The voice of the Bride and Bridegroom (an obvious reference to Christ and the Elect) is not heard in the streets of Babylon anymore. There is no more light of the candle (also a reference to the spirit of the churches)

23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Then, just as we saw after the 6th seal, there is a scene in heaven in Rev 19 with the 24 elders and all the multitudes.  The Bride at last has made herself ready and is now in the heavenly court:

7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. … 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

And there is a final trumpet.  We are told there are seven, but the seventh is never specifically mentioned because it is the sound of the  final battle.  Like the first trumpet, it seems as though it gets sounded after the resurrection.  I have no explanation for that  Perhaps it is a simultaneous thing.

14 And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

 

The First Resurrection

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection.

It is my opinion that this verse is commemorating the completion of the first resurrection which isn’t until AFTER the millennial reign when all the dead, even the wicked as well as those who died during the millennial reign have been resurrected for the great white throne judgment.

Now I will go back through the scriptures for the other views and clarify how they could also be in support of a mid tribulation rapture, or at least, not be disproving it.

[Isa 65:17 KJV] 

17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. . . 20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner [being] an hundred years old shall be accursed….23 They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

This verse is clearly referencing

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. It also mentions the former things not being remembered which is in

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Verse 20 throws us off because it sounds like people are dying, and Revelation says there is no more death.  However, looking at other translations, it seems that instead of saying people will die when they are a hundred, that the idea of dying when you are a hundred will be considered a curse.

[Isa 65:20 NIV] 

20 “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

I do not feel this verse can be used to prove an exact time of the rapture.

The next set of verses in the pretrib section alluding to the immanent return of Christ I feel is a weak argument.  The return of Christ, like the phrase, “the later days”, the “end of the world” or the “day of the Lord” is a very broad term that can refer to a specific event or a series of events.  The return of the Lord is no less imminent because we experience more signs, and even if we are counting the days like Daniel was instructed, we still cannot not know that exact hour.  We are constantly in a state of waiting and watching.

Next is the argument that we are not meant to endure the judgments.

10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

So these verses show that there is an intention to keep the elect from the harsh stuff.  I feel that this is addressed in Revelation when the elect from the gentile nations are brought to heaven

14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. And again when the elect are bought to heaven
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Clearly God’s people are present during part of the tribulation, and then pulled out.  Hence use of the word “time shortened”. So it would be very ill advised to be sitting around saying, we don’t have to worry, because we will get raptured out first.  Especially with all the warnings of being killed by both Jesus AND John.

Now on to the issue of the “restrainer”

6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders…

The point here is that the Holy Spirit in the believers is what is restraining evil in this world.  I would argue that the objective of the Holy Spirit is never cited as restraining evil.  We DO have scripture that points to another entity that is responsible for restraining the evil one.

The angel ministring to Daniel says Michael came to take care of the Prince of Persia (another spiritual entity keeping Daniels prayers from receiving an answer.

13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

It was Michael who contended with the Devil over the body of Moses

9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

But, the real scripture that puts this argument to rest is that Daniel names Michael as the entity who is associated with the resurrection AND the great tribulation.

1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.

After that scripture, I don’t really think it is still a question who the “restrainer” is in Thessalonians, but he is also said to be the one wrestling the dragon in Revelation

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels

Enoch also has Michael binding up evil watchers until what appears to be the prophecy of Revelation

And the Lord said unto Michael: ‘Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves 12 with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is 13 for ever and ever is consummated.

Now to address the last verse that is used to support a post tribulation rapture.  All the references to fire and the heavens and elements being dissolved with heat, leads me to believe that this is talking specifically about the great white throne judgment. At that time, all the works will be judged and tried by fire.  The devil is cast into the lake of fire. The former things are passed away.  It is the end of the end.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

So a quick summary, I believe the scripture is alluding that a rapture event will happen with the church at the end of the 6th seal or beginning of the 7th seal/1st trumpet, and a second rapture event will happen with Israel and the tribulation saints at the last trumpet before the vials are poured out. And that a final resurrection for all the dead will be at the end of the millennium for the Great White Throne judgment.