The verse Luke 21:36 with the word “escape” has nothing to do with the rapture nor is it about Christians

Luke 21:36 is a verse that some pastors and teachers use to justify the idea of a pre-trib rapture.

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Luke 21:36

Let me explain why they are wrong.

To begin with, what some Christian churches consider to be “the rapture”, because of the Greek word “harpazo” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, which is “rapturo” in Latin, is actually described in the Bible as the reaping of the harvest (ref. Revelation 14:14-16).

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

Revelation 14:14-16

The reaping of the harvest in Revelation 14 is entirely about the 144000 saints. It has nothing to do with Christians generally.

Indeed, Revelation 14 begins by describing the 144000 saints: the firstfruits unto God and the redeemed of the 12 tribes of Jacob.

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Revelation 14:1-5

The 144000 are virgin men who will be born again as fiery soldiers of the kingdom of God.

Now, consider 1 Thessalonians 4:17, the harpazo or rapturo verse itself.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we [Paul speaking] which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Notice earlier in this same chapter, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “sanctification” is mentioned as in “saint”, and also abstinence from “fornication” as in “virgin”. Furthermore, the word “brother” occurs in 1 Thessalonians 4:6 because all of the 144000 are men with bloodline to the 12 tribes of Jacob.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-6

Further yet, in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Paul uses the pronoun “we”, because he himself will be a saint (ref. Ephesians 3:8), one of the tribe of Benjamin (ref. Romans 11:1).

Unto me [Paul speaking], who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Ephesians 3:8

So, pastors and pundits that teach that all Christians will be reaped as opposed to the 144000 are mistaken. They are spreading an idea that is not in the Bible.

To make matters worse, those who insist that the rapture is pre-trib, despite the clear words of Matthew 24:29 “after the tribulation”, might mislead the unprepared and cost those individuals their souls. This is because anyone that believes that he or she will be rescued before the Antichrist begins his reign of 42 months, and before the time of the false prophet of Babylon, will assume that the mark of the beast, when it comes, must be something else. Consequently, that person will take the mark out of ignorance and be damned to hell for it.

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Revelation 14:8-11

Matthew 24:29 is very clear that the Son of man Jesus Christ will send his angels to gather together his elect, ie. the saints, “immediately after the tribulation” – to be precise, at the time of the 7th trumpet and vial.

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: 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. 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.

Matthew 24:29-31

Now, in these last days, a Christian that is killed for refusing to take the mark of the beast or for refusing to side with the beast will be resurrected to go to heaven. There, that person will stand before the throne of God and serve the Father and the Lamb in the capacity of a priest for 1000 years. It is a consolation and a reward.

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 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. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Revelation 7:13-17

Anyone that manages to somehow survive the tribulation, and that has not been blotted out of the Lamb’s book of life, can continue with life on earth in human form.

By contrast, all of the 144000 saints must be reaped on the day of the LORD. Those who are alive will be translated, and those who have been killed will be resurrected. A saint must be born again and receive his new, star-like body, so that he can serve on earth as a soldier and weapon of the kingdom of God.

So, if you are a Christian in heaven before the throne of God on the day of the LORD, you will be before God the Father, who is technically also the Lamb. However, the Son of man Jesus Christ – God in another form – will have returned to earth to become the king of the kingdom of God.

With that in mind, consider again Luke 21:36, particularly the part that reads “to stand before the Son of man”.

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Luke 21:36

To stand before the Son of man during the Millennial Reign is to be present here on earth and in the vicinity of Jerusalem, the kingdom of God. This means, Luke 21:36 can only apply to the saints or to human Jews. It cannot apply to Christians generally.

Now, let me show you why it must be human Jews.

First, the 144000 were chosen long ago. Every saint has been predestined and named by God. The saved of the humans of Judah, however, might be different. Zechariah 13:8-9 reads that two thirds will be cut off and one third will remain.

And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Zechariah 13:8-9

This one third could be an exact or an approximate figure – I don’t know.

If it is approximate, then it makes sense that human Jews that watch the news and pray to God might find themselves accounted worthy to escape the tribulation, as the text reads. By escape, what is meant is survive.

You see, for a saint, it matters not whether one lives or dies. But, for a human Jew, that person must somehow stay alive to be saved.

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

Matthew 24:13

The word “escape” is key to all this.

Notice in Isaiah 4:2-3, the phrase “the escaped of Israel” can only mean the human Jews that have survived the tribulation. It cannot possibly mean anything else.

In that day shall the branch of the LORD [Jesus Christ] be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth [the 144000] shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel [human Jews left alive]. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem

Isaiah 4:2-3

The word “escaped” occurs as well in Isaiah 10:20, and here again the meaning is the same: human Jews, the remnant of Israel, after the time of Jacob’s trouble.

And the rest of the trees [human Jews, ie. trees of righteousness] of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped [human Jews] of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.

Isaiah 10:19-21

Now, some people try to argue that 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 – “God hath not appointed us to wrath” – constitutes evidence or further evidence of a pre-trib rapture.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

But this is also a verse about the reaping of the 144000 saints, because Paul uses the word “brethren” several times in this chapter (ref. 1 Thessalonians 5:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, 1 Thessalonians 5:26, 1 Thessalonians 5:27), and in 1 Thessalonians 5:27, he writes “holy brethren”, meaning the holy ones, which literally translates to the English word “saints”.

To add to that, there is 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, which mentions “sanctify” and “calleth”, both ideas fundamental to the concept of saints: a saint is a man predestined, called, and sanctified by God (ref. Romans 8:29-30).

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Romans 8:29-30

Another thing is, for Christians, the tribulation is technically the wrath of Satan (ref. Revelation 12:12), rather than the wrath of God.

… Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Revelation 12:12

God’s wrath begins at the opening of the 7th seal: the beginning of the 7 trumpets and 7 vials. This will happen towards the end of the tribulation.

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

Revelation 16:1

The 7th trumpet and vial, the day of the LORD itself, will see Jesus Christ and all of the 144000 saints here on earth exacting fiery vengeance on what remains of the 2 beasts of Satan.

For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.

Isaiah 66:15-16

This is the wrath of God that 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 is referring to.

So, Luke 21:36 has been misunderstood and misappropriated by many pastors and pundits, for the sake of teaching a pre-trib rapture.

To say that Christians generally will be raptured when in fact they won’t is not a big deal unless the left behind overreact, thinking that they have failed or missed out. However, the idea of a pre-trib rapture of Christians is something else. As I have explained, this particular false doctrine could in principle cause souls to be lost.

Fortunately, when the abomination of desolation happens, the jig is up. By then, the tribulation has started, and it should be evident that there has been no pre-trib rapture.

Nevertheless, certain Christians might be so indoctrinated and brainwashed by this heresy that they remain in denial and end up making all the wrong decisions.

This is why the Bible warns that those that wrest scripture and help the Devil, deliberately or not, will be punished.

… some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

2 Peter 3:16