The Church Does Not Enter the Tribulation: Part 4 of 4 :: By Ron Ferguson

Reasons That Prove It

Earlier back, I wrote a three-part series on this subject, and I thought that was the end. But some more thoughts occurred to me, and a couple of RR readers mentioned a bit extra. Consequently, I have written Part 4 in this series.


A reader has asked me about a Thessalonians passage, so we return to Thessalonians. 1 Thessalonians 5:4: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, THAT THE DAY should overtake you like a THIEF.” Paul assures his readers, the saints at Thessalonica, that that terrible day (the Day of the LORD), [“that the day”] will not break upon them like a marauding thief, and he tells them why. They do not belong to the darkness. That is so definite. We are sons of light, not of darkness. Light has nothing to do with darkness. The thief belongs to the night, to the darkness of the world.

Part of what I said to that reader is this:

“We need to look at one other reference to the thief – Matthew 24:43 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.” In the context of that verse, we have two in a field and two at a mill, one taken and one left. The whole of Matthew 24 is in the Tribulation and Second Coming. None of it is referencing the Rapture. None of it is in our age; it is all post-Rapture = Tribulation. Jesus comes as a thief, and the reference is to the Second Coming. The world is in darkness, and the thief image is an apt one. The thief comes when unexpected, and Jesus will come in judgment when not expected. This has nothing to do with the Rapture.”

What Paul means when he says, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, THAT THE DAY should overtake you like a thief,” is that we just won’t be here for the thief’s coming to affect us. The Day of the LORD comes as a shock and lasts for 7 years. When the Rapture happens, it will be a shock to the world but not to the Lord’s own.

The Day of the LORD is not for Christians/the Church. The Church can not enter the Tribulation, a time of God’s wrath against the accumulated sins of the world and against unrepentant inhabitants. There is no way the Church is connected with that.

Peter qualifies it even more – 2Peter 3:10 “But THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME LIKE A THIEF in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”

Peter is not a prophecy teacher like Paul but knew all about it. He speaks of the Day of the LORD in a general sense but looks at it at the end – the Second Coming when Messiah comes as the thief to a dark world prepared at Armageddon to exterminate Israel. Then he moves to the new heavens and earth, the same as Revelation 21.

1 Thessalonians 5:3 “While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child and they shall not escape.” Notice the wording “come upon THEM” and not “us.” This will not be for the Church and is the Day of the Lord heralded by the breaking of the first seal in Revelation 6. The Day of the Lord begins with the breaking of the first seal in Revelation 6 when the Church is already in heaven – chapters 4 and 5 are the great scene in heaven of the Church. The world will be saying peace and safety because the troublesome Christians have disappeared. Then, The Day of the Lord hits them for 7 years, and they will not escape.

The Church has been raptured and is in heaven with the Lamb. The Church cannot enter the Tribulation.

Then we come to the next 4 verses, which make the distinction of light and darkness even stronger. Paul has just said that the Day of the LORD will not overtake us as a thief, and continues – 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 “For YOU ARE ALL SONS OF LIGHT AND SONS OF DAY. WE ARE NOT OF (THE) NIGHT NOR OF DARKNESS, so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober for those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night, but since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on THE BREASTPLATE OF FAITH AND LOVE, AND AS A HELMET, THE HOPE OF SALVATION.”

Genuine Christians are called sons of the day. We are sons of light, not of darkness.

Jesus said the night will come when no man can work. It is at night the thief prowls around. In 1 Thessalonians 5:4, the darkness is the night spoken of when this world enters the Tribulation under the beast of the night, and Satan, the author of darkness. That is the darkness of sin. That is not about Christians, for we are sons of the day. The Church can have no part in darkness, no part in the Tribulation.

Genesis 1:1-2 is most interesting – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was formless and void, AND DARKNESS WAS OVER THE SURFACE OF THE DEEP, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”

The heavens and the earth would have been in great pristine beauty and light when God created them, but in verse 2, it is darkness that has ruined the earth. The earth was covered in darkness, believed to be judgment from God. (I know some dispute that, but I do believe that, having looked into it). In the Rapture, the sons of light and of the day are removed, and then judgment comes over all the earth, and its time of darkness will have arrived. The thief will be in the Tribulation (Antichrist, the greatest thief of God’s glory and purpose) but not the Church because great moral darkness will come over the whole world, and the Church has nothing to do with that. Messiah will restore the proper moral light when He returns at the Second Coming.


Consider for a moment the ark of Noah. The wrath of God fell from heaven on everyone who was living at that time, but the difference for Noah was the ark. God’s wrath fell on the sinful people, and it fell on the ark. In a sense, it fell on those inside the ark, but the 8 inside were protected by the vessel; the ones outside were unprotected. The ark encountered the wrath of God, too, and it endured the wrath for the sake of the ones it was sheltering. The ark was covered inside and outside with pitch – means atonement – and it was this atonement that protected the redeemed believers inside.

We are in Christ who is our Ark, our Atonement with God. The wrath of God fell on Him when He was made sin for us and He entered into judgment and endured the great storm. But all “in Him” will be preserved from the Tribulation storm that is coming once the Church departs because Christ took God’s wrath for us, and He sheltered in in the blood of the atonement. There are some who claim that the Church must go through the Great Tribulation, at least the first half of it, for 3.5 years of the 7 years. Then they say the Church is raptured. That is a great error, for Christ has taken ALL THE WRATH for us, not half. That Mid-Tribulation Rapture is absolutely wrong.


I do not want to examine this subject in full, as I have done it over many years. Just one thing I will say, and it is this: The 70 weeks were appointed for “your people,” and we know that to be Israel. Daniel 9:24 “SEVENTY WEEKS HAVE BEEN DECREED FOR YOUR PEOPLE AND YOUR HOLY CITY – to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.” Those 70 weeks excluded the Gentile nations, which is why only 490 years are recognized for God’s association with Israel in the past 2,500 years. All the other time is Gentiles, which is where we are today.

The last week of 7 years, by the way, could not have happened until Israel became a State and nation again. This is why the Rapture could not have happened before 1947. I wonder if the great prophecy teachers of the 1800s, who led the church back to these forgotten teachings, ever realized that fact.

I am going to state something I don’t want you to be horrified about. It is this: “The Church was/is an obstruction holding back the final week of the 70.” I don’t need to explain; you should know what I mean. In other words, the Church age is preventing God taking up His people Israel again. I am confident you understand what I am saying.

The only solution to this is for the Church to be removed – taken out of the way so the LORD can operate with Israel in that final week of 7 years. Very, very soon, the Church will receive its ticket of departure.

The Church and Israel cannot be on God’s agenda at the same time. The Church must depart so the 490 years can be brought to completion. I can see no greater proof for a Rapture that has to happen before the last 7 years than the conclusion of Daniel’s 70 weeks. Once the Church has gone, then the last 7 years begin. THE CHURCH WILL NOT – CANNOT – BE IN THE TRIBULATION because it is NOT part of the last week of the 70 weeks.

There is a point I think I am changing my mind about, but I am still uncertain. Maybe others can be clearer. Since the start of the 1960s when I began the study of biblical prophecy, I have always thought the Tribulation (which I equated with the 7 years) started with the breaking of the first seal and the revealing of the world ruler (Antichrist, if you like). Now I wonder if it is more correct to place the start of the 7 years with the signing or confirmation of this treaty/covenant that is drawn up with Israel.

Daniel 9:27 “And he WILL MAKE A FIRM COVENANT with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering, and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate” (NASB).

Regarding these words, here are 3 translations, I think the ESV is the best – “a firm covenant” (NASB), “shall confirm the covenant” (AV), and “shall make a strong covenant” (ESV). According to Strong’s, it means “to strengthen, to make strong, to prevail” (to get it done) – brackets mine. Regarding covenant, again Strong’s – “covenant, alliance, pledge between men, treaty, alliance, league (man to man).” Some think Antichrist will confirm a covenant/treaty that is in existence, while others think it means drawing up that treaty from the start (that is probably my position). The first position has been influenced by the AV wording. On a human level, nations are hoping someone can solve the Middle East problems, and the coming world ruler will do that.

If that is the case, then there would be a small time gap between the revealing of the world leader (the first seal) and the establishment of that covenant. I don’t think in any way such a treaty will come into operation this side of the Rapture, and I think it will be the way that “peace” will come to the Middle East, for the current conflicts and tensions will continue until and past the Rapture.

This raises another side issue highlighted by this verse – Matthew 25:13 “Be on the alert then, for YOU DO NOT KNOW THE DAY NOR THE HOUR,” and this one too – Matthew 24:44 “For this reason you be ready too, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” The world will know the date of this treaty/covenant being drawn up, and we know the Tribulation is 84 times 30 days = 2,520 days (84 prophetic months), so I sort of wonder if some in the Tribulation time might be able to calculate the day. Anyway, we will leave that one for now.


I write on another site where I add a lot of my standard messages and studies, and I take the opportunity to keep the Rapture in view there when I can, posting some of my material from RR. I often get attacked for speaking of the Rapture, but I am not fazed about that, as Satan hates the Rapture and will discredit the word of the Lord. I get called names, vile ones, and other things as well.

There is one in particular who calls himself an Online Pastor and Truth Seeker who is particularly persistent (he does not call me those awful names). I am going to give three quotes from him to show what we face in trying to get the truth out. It is like a great concrete barrier.

“Hi Ron! Do you know the origins of the lie you’re perpetuating? John Darby came up with it, got it from a girl (Margaret Thatcher) who was on her sick bed and had a vision of the church being raptured before the tribulation. Margaret claimed the vision wasn’t from Yah, and John didn’t care; no, he ran with the lie that you have taken the baton from, and ran with yourself! It’s almost a 200-year-old lie! I’ll bet there are lies older than that which you cling to as well and sell as truth. For example, Christmas – Jeremiah 10 told you not to bring the tree into your house and decorate it with silver and gold. I bet you wouldn’t listen to the Word! Study to show yourself approved unto Yah! Good luck!”

Xxx Cxxx commented on Jan 6, 2024

“Don’t be ignorant about the false doctrine of the rapture! Do a little research, and you will see John Darby perpetuated this lie he got from Margaret Thatcher, who, on her sick bed, had a vision of the church being raptured before the tribulation. Margaret admitted the vision was not from Yah! John ran with the lie; it’s about 200 years old now! You won’t find any church father teaching this doctrine before that! The pretrib rapture is a lie to leave you unprepared to go through the tribulation!

Good luck! Study to show yourself approved unto Yah!”

“Rapture theory is a lie of the devil! It makes people believe they will miss the tribulation, and as a result, they will be totally unprepared and set up for failure and apostasy. The tribulation has already begun and coming quickly to America!

Buckle up folks, put oil in your lamp and get extra! Purpose in your heart to endure to the end to be saved! Cling to Messiah! Have the attitude of Hananiah, Misael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego). We will serve Yah whether He delivers us or not!”


In fact, I know a lot about John Nelson Darby, having been in the Open Brethren (Plymouth Brethren) in my early years, and I have all Darby’s collected works, though now I don’t look at them. Most of the early writers are on the Internet.

In trying to determine where these attitudes and attacks come from, I have narrowed it down to two main sources, there being a lot of opinions.

  1. Those who do believe in a Tribulation but think the Church must pass through the Tribulation

They tell me I am a coward, not wanting to pass through the suffering. I get told I know nothing about the Rapture or what the Bible is teaching. I suppose I can sit in a corner and say, “Woe is me, for I know nothing and the critics know everything!”

  1. Those who belong to Reformation teaching. That is, Replacement Theology

Those people absolutely hate the term “Replacement Theology” and have their own word for not attributing any of the Old Testament prophecies to Israel – they call it Supersessionism. It is all of Satan, as he cheats Israel of the glorious promises that await God’s redeemed nation. Anyone who writes off the Jews, in my opinion, is on very dangerous ground regarding blessing. We refer to the Genesis 12:3 verse.

This reformation theology against Israel, and the Replacement Theology, is gaining a lot of ground these days, and I wonder if it is in line with Satan’s attack on Israel as a nation, as nations of the world are becoming more anti-Semitic. It is horrifying to see hate for Israel springing up in almost every quarter.

I hope some of that made sense and maybe helped a bit.




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